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Addressed by Victorian Pioneers 


Edited for the Trustees of the Public Library 


During his period of office as 


$ttblis!ub for the ^rnsttts of tlit^nblic ip 




THIS Volume was edited by Dr. Bride during the period in which he held 
office as Public Librarian. The bulk of the work has been in print for 
some years, but for various reasons its publication has been delayed until 
the present time. 


The Public Library, 

March, 189 


ON the 29th July 1853 His Excellency Lieutenant-Governor 
La Trobe addressed a circular letter to a number of early 
settlers, nearly all of whom have now passed away, request- 
ing information as to the time and circumstances of the first 
occupation of various parts of the colony. 

At least 58 letters or papers, detailing the personal 
experiences of the pioneers of Victoria, appear to have been 
placed at the service of Mr. La Trobe, who at the time con- 
templated writing a history of the Colony. 

These papers remained in the possession of His Excel- 
lency until 1872, when, writing, on the 19th March, to the 
Honorable James Graham, M.L.C., he said 

" I have this day addressed a small parcel of some 
interest to be forwarded to you when occasion offers. As I 
am in the prospect of a move, as you know, in the course of 
the autumn, so taking time by the forelock, and attempting 
to put my house in order, I have collected a number of 
documents, addressed to me in 1854, by old colonists, to 
whom I applied for information respecting the early occupa- 
tion and settlement of our Colony. I intended to have made 
a certain use of this information myself, but, from circum- 
stances, was prevented doing so. The day may come, how- 
ever, when it may be considered of too great interest to be 
lost, and I therefore propose that the parcel should be 
deposited somewhere where it will be accessible when that 
day comes, say the Public Library or other public archives. 
On this point perhaps you will consult those who ought to 
be consulted. I think it may be a little early to make 
unrestricted use of the contents of these letters. In sending 
them to you, however, I am securing their being deposited 
where they ought to go." 

vi Preface. 

These documents, Mr. Graham, in the judicious exercise 
of his discretion, in due course presented to this institution, 
and they are now, by direction of the Trustees, given to the 
public in the present volume. 

The letters record events which will recall to many 
persons still living old Victorian memories, and will have a 
great value for the future historian of Victoria, as narrating 
the experiences of actual movers in the early scenes of our 
colonization, while they will also possess interest as incidental 
contributions to the biographies of the men who half a 
century ago began to encounter the hardships and perils 
which beset the pioneer in every part of this continent. 
These papers also contain interesting contributions to our 
knowledge of the aborigines their languages, customs, and 
conflicts with the white men ; and although some of the 
incidents narrated have found their way into print before, 
they are now for the first time given in their entirety to the 
public. It cannot be claimed for these papers that they are 
infallible records of our early history in every point, but they 
do contain the first impressions of those who had ample 
opportunities of learning at the fountain head what could be 
learnt amid the hardships of early colonial days. 

The short paper contributed by Mrs. F. A. Davenport, of 
Hobart, was presented to the Trustees on the 21st May 1884, 
and will not be uninteresting as coming from the pen of a 
lady who had special facilities for studying the aboriginal 
language so far back as 1842. 




1. Letter from J. N. McLeod, Tahara, 18th August 1853. 

Lands at Indented Head in July 1837. Explores the country 
around Lakes Colac and Corangamite. The natives numerous. 
Takes up Borhoneyghurk station, on the Moorabool. Mr. Russell 
compelled by attacks of natives to vacate the Leigh. Further 
settlement on the Leigh and Moorabool. In October 1846 takes 
up a station on the South Australian boundary, on the border of the 
mallee scrub. His experience of the natives ... ... 1-3 

2. Letter from Hugh Murray, Colac, 18th August 1853. 

First occupation of the Colac district, September 1837- First 
heard of the country from a party in search of Gellibrand and Hesse. 
Instance of cannibalism. The Colac tribe ... ... 3-5 

3. Letter from J. H. Patterson, Moorabee, 15th August 1853. 

Takes up Greenhill station in 1836. Settlement of the Bacchus 
Marsh district. Whyte Brothers occupy the Wannon. The abori- 
gines troublesome. The Grange taken up by Messrs. Wedge. 
Took up Tourbouric. Settlement on the Campaspe and 'Murray. 
Moorabee taken up in 1838 or 1839. The aborigines hostile. 
Unsuccessful in his endeavour to ameliorate their condition 5-7 

4. Letter from H. Norman Simson, Charlotte Plains, 24th August 1853. 

Occupation of the Loddon, Glenelg, and Wimmera. Murder of 
Mr. Allan. The aborigines troublesome on the Glenelg. Settlement 
of country about the Pyrenees ... ... ... 7-10 

5. Letter from John Carfrae, Ledcourt, 1st September 1853. 

Unable to give any authentic account of first settlement of 
Wimmera district. Has given various gleanings to Mr. P. D. 
Rose ... ... ... ... ... ... 10-11 

6. Letter from David Fisher, Roslin, Geelong, 21st September 1853. 

The Van Diemen's Land Association. Arrival of Messrs. 
Batman, Fawkner, Gellibrand, and others. Early Melbourne. 
Fawkner's Royal Hotel. Batman's hut. Explores the country in 
the vicinity of Geelong. Two men killed by the natives. The 
Derwent Company. An exploring expedition in the Western district. 
Mr. Geo. Mercer's journal of the expedition ... ... 11-19 

7. Letter from T. H. Pyke, Upper Werribee, Ballan, 12th August 1853. 

Occupation of the Werribee country... 19-20 

8. Letter from Edward Dryden, Macedon, August 1853. 

Occupation of the Mount Macedon country. Settlement on the 
Coliban, Campaspe, and Loddon ... ... ... 20-21 

9. Letter from John G. Robertson, Wando Vale, 26th September 1853. 

Arrival in Van Diemen's Land in 1831. Sails for Portland Bay 
in 1840. Occupation of the Wando, Glenelg, and W T annon Rivers. 
The squatters quarrelling about their boundaries. The three event- 
ful years, 1841-43. The financial result of 14 years' squatting. The 
Glenelg, Pigeon Ponds, and Chetwynd stations taken up in 1840. 
Want of postal communication. The Dergholm and Roseneath 
stations taken up in 1841. Two ladies on the verge of the wilderness. 

Tiii Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


Murder of shepherd. Search for the aborigines. Fifty-one aborigines 
killed at the Fighting Hills. " Long Yarra " alone escapes. Murder 

of Mr. and a man called Larry. A harem of gins. Mr. Lewis 

speared. Natives not numerous. Description of the Wannon 
country in 1840. A severe frost. The face of the country changes 


10. Letter from Charles Wale Sherard, Creswick Creek, 10th August 1853. 

Settlement of the country on the road to Melbourne from the 
eastern head of Western Port Bay ... ... ... 36-37 

11. Letter from Thomas Learmonth, Buninyong, llth August 1853. 

First occupation of the Barwon, Moorabool, Buninyong, and 
Mount Emu districts. A fleet of small vessels employed in conveying 
stock from Van Diemen's Land, January to May 1837. Occupies 
runs on the Barwon River and the Native Creek. Extent of occupa- 
tion in April 1837. Disputes about boundaries. Encloses map show- 
ing the stations occupied in May 1837 and during the following year. 
A party explores the country in the neighbourhood of Buninyong. 
A party explores round Lake Corangamite. Further explorations. 
Occupation of the Buninyong, Ballarat, Maiden Hills, and Mount 
Emu district. The Buninyong aborigines ... ... 37-43 

12. Letter from John Hepburn, Smeaton Hill, 10th August 1853. 

Induced to become a settler by Mr. John Gardiner. First stock 
brought overland from Sydney. Account of the journey. Mel- 
bourne in December 1836. Interview with Buckley. Foundation 
of the capital of Victoria. Occupies Gardiner's Creek the first 
cattle station in Australia Felix. Proceeds to the east coast of New 
South Wales. Opening up the navigation of the Murray. First 
day's journey thence to Sydney. Originates the overland post. 
Advance in price of sheep. Financial troubles. Second overland 
trip in 1838. Experiences of the natives. Quality of the land. 
Experience of prisoners of the Crown ... ... ... 43-64 

13. William Thomas. Brief Account of the Aborigines of Australia Felix. 

Form of government. Daily life. Marriage. Laws. Dancest 
Games. Weapons. Men composing the native police on the Is. 
January 1843. Statistics relating to births, deaths, education, 
crimes, &c., among the aborigines. Returns showing the numbers 
of aborigines in various districts and tribes ... ... 65-83 

14. William Thomas. Account of the Aborigines. 

Aboriginal traditions and superstitions difficult to grasp in their 
full significance. No trace of any ceremony analogous to the ancient 
ophiolatry. Australian deities. Creation of man. Creation of 
woman. How man first came into possession of fire. Notions of the 
flood. Tradition of the dispersion of mankind. Tradition of the 
origin of wind. Thunder and lightning. The Mindye. Super- 
stition about consulting bears. Superstitious notions of the 
Warmum. Charmers. Doctors. Murrina Kooding, or strength 
lost. Arrangement of native encampment. Fight between the 
Barrabool and Buninyong blacks north of Melbourne. Arrangement 
in encampment when different tribes meet. Ceremony of Tanderrum, 
or freedom of the bush. Ceremony of Murrain Turrukerook, or 
female coming of age. Ceremony of Tib-but, or male coming of 
age ... ... ... ... ... ... 84-100 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. ix 


15. Letter from Rev. James Clow, Melbourne, 4th August 1853. 

Settlement of Dandenong district. Mr. Clow's experiences of 
the natives. Earthquakes felt at Dandenong ... ... 100-107 

16. Letter from J. M. Clow. 

Pine Plains taken up in August 1847 ... ... 107-108 

17. Letter from J. M. Clow. 

Occupies Balerook, Wimmera district, in May 1847. " Geordie," 
his wives, and children the sole aboriginal occupants of this isolated 
tract. Stratagem of the aborigines to murder " Geordie." Mode of 
subsistence of the aborigines. Excursion into the desert in search 
of pastoral country. Most of the Wimmera district settled before 
his arrival ... ... ... ... ... ... 108-114 

18. Letter from Captain Foster Fyans. 

Musters 275 natives at Geelong. Depredations by the natives. 
Experience of convict soldiers. Progress of settlement in the Port- 
land Bay district. Journey from Geelong to Portland Bay. Various 
classes of squatters. Longevity unknown among the aborigines. 
The natives, Balyang, Woolmudgen, and Bon Jon. Number of the 
Portland Bay tribes. Game. Bush inns in the early days. Mel- 
bourne in 1837. Comparison of the sites of Melbourne and Geelong. 
Prices in 1853 and 1848. Geelong in 1853 ... ... 114-129 

19. Letter from W. Odell Raymond, Stratford, 15th August 1853. 

Induced by Strzelecki's pamphlet to remove to Gippsland. 

. Arrived at the Mitchell River on 20th June 1842. Other settlers in 

Gippsland. Letter written in August 1842 by Mr. Raymond, 

describing the state of Gippsland and a journey from Gippsland to 

Western Port. Populat ion and revenue of Gippsland ... 129-134 

20. Letter from Thomas Manifold, Warrnambool, 30th August 1853. 

First visited Port Phillip in February 1836. Landed the first 
sheep at Point Henry, 9th July 1836. Settlement on the Moorabool, 
Bar won and Leigh rivers, in September and October 1836. Dis- 
covery of Lake Purrumbete and the Mount Leura district, 1838. 
Settlement of the Mount Noorat and Mount Shadwell district. Dis- 
covery and settlement of the Hopkins River ... ... 135-137 

1. Letter from George Armytage, Hermitage, 6th October 1853. 

Landed at Williamstown in May 1836. Murder of Mr. Franks 
and others. Search for Gellibrand and Hesse, and discovery of Lake 
Colac, Buninyong, and the Stony Rises. Occupants of the country 
in the neighbourhood of Mounts Gellibrand and Hesse. Original 
occupiers of the country on the Upper BarM'on removed by the 
Government to make room for Wesleyan missionaries. Settlement 
in the Colac district ... .... ... ... ... 138-141 

22. Letter from Henry Dwyer, Victoria Valley, 13th August 1853. 

Came to Victoria Valley in 1841. Run first occupied by 
Thomas Woolley ... ... ... ... ... 141 

23. Letter from Sir H. E. F. Young, addressed to Norman Campbell, Esq., 

dated 20th April 1853. 

The Lady Augusta and Mary Anne steamers on the Murray 142 

x Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


24. Letter from A. M. Campbell, Ganawarra, 29th September 1853. 

Settlement on the Murray. His experience of the natives 


25. Note taken from John Gardiner by Mr. La Trobe, on board the Argo, 

19th August 1853. 

Mr. Gardiner first visited Port Phillip in 1836, and returned to 
Van Diemen's Land in December of same year. Came overland from 
Murrumbidgee with Ha wdon and Hepburn ... ... 146 

26. Letter from Philip D. Rose, Melbourne. 

Maiden Hills, Wonwondah, Fiery Creek, Emu Creek, Leigh, 
and Ledcourt stations taken up. Murders by natives. Experience 
of the aborigines. Rosebrook taken up ... ... 146-150 

27. Letter from George Faithfull, Wangaratta, 8th September 1853. 

Stimulus given to proprietors of Stock in New South Wales to 
migrate to Port Phillip by Sir Thos. Mitchell's discoveries. Settle- 
ment of the Ovens district. Natives troublesome. Encounter with 
them 150-154 

28. Letter from George D. Mercer, Weatherboard, near Geelong, 22nd 

August 1853. 

First occupants of the Leigh and Barwon, and the Geelong 
district generally. Exploration in the Western district. The 
natives ... ... ... ... ... ... 154-157 

29. Letter from William F. Splatt, Melbourne, 13th August 1853. 

Occupation of the Wimmera district. Occupation of the country 
on the Glenelg, Lower Loddon, Lower Avoca, and Lower Murray. 
The aboriginal inhabitants of the Lower Murray ... 157-158 

30. Letter from Robert Jamieson, Melbourne, 9th August 1853. 

Arrived in Melbourne in 1838. Purchased the Cape Schanck run 
in 1839. Mr. Edward Hobson the only settler between Cape Schanck 
and Melbourne. Explores Western Port, and removes to Yalloak 
station. In the beginning of 1839 very few settlers on the south side 
of the Yarra. The Western Port and Gippsland blacks 159-160 

31. Letter from Charles Wedge, 10th September 1853. 

Origin of the settlement of the colony of Victoria. First sheep 
landed at Williamstown. Formation of the stations of the Messrs. 
Wedge and Mr. Simpson on the Werribee River. The natives 
peaceably disposed. Sir Thomas Mitchell finds Messrs. Henty's 
whaling establishment at Portland. Murder of Mr. Franks. The 
first overlanders. Arrival of vessels from England and Scotland. 
Occupation of the country at the foot of the Grampians. Messrs. 
Henty and Messrs. Winter at Portland. The natives become 
troublesome ... ... ... ... ... 161-163 

32. Letter from J. Blair, Portland, 13th August 1853. 

Settlement on the Glenelg. The aborigines aggressive 163-165 

33. Letter from William J. T. Clarke, Melbourne, 13th September 1853. 

Took up Station Peak and a portion of the Little River early in 
1837. Removed to Bowling Forest and thence to the Pyrenees. 
Hostility of the aborigines. Billy Billy's station. Station expenses 
and profits ... ... ... ... ... ... 165-167 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. xi 


34. Letters from Edward Bell, Wimmera, 12th August and 15th Septem- 

ber 1853. 

Arrived in Sydney in September 1839, determined on entering 
into pastoral pursuits. Started for Port Phillip, accompanied by 
Messrs. Watson and Hunter. Formed a station on the Gilmore 
Creek. A squatter's troubles. Started again for Port Phillip. Ten 
thousand head of cattle on the banks of the Murray. Arrival at 
Melbourne. Settlement on the Broken and Devil's Rivers. Attempt 
to find a road into Gippsland. Removal to the Wannon. Settle- 
ment in the Western district. Discovery of the Mount Talbot 
country. Aggressions of the natives. Settlement in the Wimmera 
district. The Devil's River district. Englefield station. The 
Green Hills station ... ... ... ... ... 168-182 

35. Letter from W. T. Mollison, Pyalong, 22nd August 1853. 

A. F. Mollison's arrival at Port Phillip in 1836. Joined A. F. 
Mollison in 1838. Occupation of the Coliban and Loddon. 
The aborigines. Price of sheep and cattle. Depression of, 
1842-45 ... ... ... ... ... ... 182-185 

36. Memorandum by Leslie Foster. 

Occupation of the Avoca, Loddon, and Murray Rivers 185-186 

37. Letter from George Edward Mackay, Tarrawingee, 30th August 1853. 

Occupation of the Ovens. Sufferings and losses caused by the 
aborigines. Demand for compensation ignored ... 186-188 

38. Letter from William Taylor, Longerenong, Wimmera, 16th November 


Account of the settlement of the district around Mount Zero 
during 1843-46 ... ... ... ... ... 189-192 

39. Letter from Charles J. Tyers, Alberton, Gippsland, 15th July 1844. 

Account of the state of Gippsland up to the 30th June 1844. 
Description of the country, its rivers, lakes, and mountains. 
Population, depredations of the aborigines, exports, imports, 
revenue, and capabilities ... ... ... ... 193-204 

40. Letter from C. Hutton, Melbourne, 19th August 1853. 

Settlement on the Campaspe and King Parrot Creek. The 
Goulburn and Campaspe blacks ... ... ... 204-206 

41. Letter from John Aitken, Mount Aitken, 26th August 1853. 

Mr. Batman the first person who visited Port Phillip from Van 
Diemen's Land. Other early arrivals from Van Diemen's Land. 
In June and July 1837 arrivals from Sydney side commence. 
Western Port and Macedon natives ... ... ... 206-208 

42. Letter from Peter Snodgrass, St. Kilda, 15th September 1853. 

Settlement on the Goulburn. The natives... ... 208-209 

43. Letter from C. B. Hall, Amherst, Burnbank, 6th September 1853. 

Overland trip from Sydney in 1840. Search for a station. 
Settlement on the Avoca, Wimmera, Glenelg, Norton (or McKenzie), 
Loddon, &c. The Mindai. Exploration to the north of the Pyrenees. 
Pleasures of exploring The aborigines hostile ; numerous about 
the Grampians. Superiority of the Loddon and Marrable natives. 
Absence of feeling of revenge... ... ... ... 210-222 

xii Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


44. Letter from Colin Campbell. 

Arrived at Port Phillip in 1839. Rise in prices. Settlement 
of the Mount Cole district. Mount Cole aborigines ... 222-227 

45. Letter from Edward Grimes, 1st August 1853. 

Names of early settlers on the Broken River and Lower 
Murray ... ... ... ... ... ... 227 

46. Letter from John Templeton, Kyneton, 6th August 1853. 

Settlement on the River Goulburn, the Broken River, and the 
Devil's River. The Western Port district. The aborigines 228-229 

47. Letter from Alfred Taddy Thomson, Fiery Creek, 18th August 1853. 

Ascended the Broken River in 1840. Discovery of the Mount 
Battery distript by Messrs. Watson and Hunter. The aborigines 
troublesome. Murder of two of Mr. Waugh's men. Mr. Waugh 
leaves the Broken River a ruined man. Murder of Messrs. Watson 
and Hunter's hut-keeper. Occupation of the Fiery Creek District. 
Mr. Mather's death. Great hardships and privations endured by 
the early settlers ... ... ... ... ... 229-233 

48. Letter from Thomas Chirnside, Point Cook, 1st November 1853. 

Arrives at Adelaide in January 1839, reaching Sydney two 
months later. State of New South Wales. Takes cattle overland to 
Adelaide. Settles on the Loddon, 1840. Forms a station at Mount 
William. Friendly relations with the natives. Changes in the seasons 
improve the country. Formed a station in the Adelaide territory. 
Barrenness of the country between Lake Alexandrina and the 
Glenelg. Port Phillip the Eden of the colonies. Characteristics 
of the settlers in the different colonies ... ... 233-238 

49. Letter from E. P. S. Sturt, Lpnsdale-street, 20th October 1853. 

Initiation into bush life as Commissioner of Crown Lands for 
the Murray district in 1837. Description of the district. Charm 
of traversing new country. The seasons change. The Billabong 
country and the plains between the Edward and Murrumbidgee 
Rivers. Difference in the appearance of the Murray and the 
Murrumbidgee. Stream of overlanders commences. Destruction 
of Faithfull's party. The natives always treacherous and devoid of 
pity. Trip overland from Bathurst to Adelaide. Mode employed 
by blacks to catch ducks. Has resided at Mount Gambier since 
1844. Description of the country, and experiences of an early 
settler. The Plenty a district of cattle stealers ... 238-250 

50. Letter from Dr. A. Thomson, 20th March 1854. T 

Landed at Melbourne in March 1836. Built a church in April 
1836. First clerical visitors. Arrival of Mr. Batman. Arrivals 
become frequent. First census. First herd of cattle brought from 
Sydney. Geelong and the Western district. The aborigines. 
Lonsdale's notes on Dr. Thomson's statement ... ... 250-253 

51. Letter from A. McMillan, Bushy Park, 25th August 1853. 

Memorandum of a trip from the Maneroo district, in the year 
1839, to the south-west of that district towards the sea-coast. 
Description of the country, its rivers, &c. Discoverer of Gippsland. 
Forms station on the Avon in 1840. Discovers Port Albert 254-259 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. xiii 


52. Letter from S. G. Henty, Portland, 16th January 1854. 

Edward Henty visited Portland Bay in 1833. Fixed hia habi- 
tation at Portland in 1834. Arrival of Francis and S. G. Henty. 
Major Mitchell's arrival at Portland in August 1836. The Hentys 
occupy Merino Downs and other stations. Arrival of Samuel 
Winter and others. The first land sale. Journey to Cape 
Jaffa. Port Fairy. Mr. Henty's application for land at Port 
Phillip 260-265 

53. Letter from C. J. La Trobe, Melbourne, 22nd January 1853. 

Death of Capt. Dana. Important services rendered by him in 
the establishment of the native police ... ... ... 266-269 

54. Letter from Hugh Jamieson to Bishop Perry, Mildura Station, River 

Murray, 10th October 1853. 

The aborigines capable of only a limited improvement. Have 
no knowledge of a Supreme Being. Death attributed in all cases to 
human agency. Numbers in the Murray and Darling tribes. In- 
fanticide prevalent. Their diseases and physical sufferings. Can- 
nibalism. Marriages. Probable future of the aborigines. Bennilong 
and the Native Police, instances of failure to permanently improve 
the aborigines. The aborigines doomed to become extinct 269-275 

55. Notes on Port Phillip, by Thomas Winter, of Hobart, in a letter to 

Mr. Swanston, written probably in 1837. 

Port Phillip visited in 1802 in order to form a settlement. 
Batman and others induced to visit Port Phillip. Description of 
the harbor, Williamstown, Melbourne, and the country generally. 
The natives. The fauna ... ... ... ... 275-279 

56. Gellibrand's memorandum of a trip to Port Phillip in January and 

February 1836. 

Embarks on board the Norval, 17th January 1836. Lands at 
Western Port. Loss of sheep and hardships experienced in the 
search for them. Mr. Mudie established at the Government settle- 
ment which had been abandoned in 1827. Journey overland to 
Port Phillip. Arrival at Melbourne. Description of the settlement. 
Conversation with Buckley. Examination of the districts around 
Melbourne and Geelong. Outrage on a native woman. The 
aborigines ... ... ... ... ... ... 279-301 

58. Letter from John Hart, Melbourne, 24th April 1854. 

Visits Portland, Guichen, and Nepean Bays in 1831, on a sealing 
voyage. Life of the sealers on Kangaroo, Thistle, and other islands. 
Second sealing voyage between Bass's Straits and Doubtful Island 
Bay. Third sealing voyage in November 1833. Enters Western 
Port in December 1834. Ships bark to London. Returns to Laun- 
ceston, and gives account of his trip to Messrs. Conolly, Fawkner, 
Evans, and Batman. The fame of Port Phillip reaches Launceston. 
Sails for London. Drives a herd of cattle from Portland to Adelaide 
in 1837 302-306 

Specimens of the language of the Barrabool tribe and list of members of 
the tribe, collected about 1842 by Mrs. Davenport ... 307-311 

INDEX . 313 

3Cetttc0 from Utctormn 

No. 1. 
DEAR Siu, Tahara, August 18th 1853. 

In answer to yours of the 29th of July, only just received, I 
send you the following information, which I hope may be what 
you require. 

I landed on Indented Head from V. D. Land with sheep 
in July 1837. In September I went with a party to explore. 
We Avent round Lakes Colac and Korangamite ; we were the first 
who went round the latter. The farthest out station at that time 
was Mr Ricketts's, on the River Barwon, 40 miles from Geelong ; 
he had only been there about three weeks ; the blacks bad robbed 
him, and were constantly driving his shepherds in with their flocks. 
As we came along the banks of Lake Korangamite a great many 
parties of natives ran off into the stony rise, leaving everything 
behind them. They were on the mouths of small creeks which 
run into the lake, fishing. The stony, scrubby rises come so 
close to the lake, they could not see us ; we were within a few 
yards of them ; we were stopped by the Pirron Yalloak. At 
night we could not find a ford, so we camped in the centre of a 
small plain, tethering our horses close around us, and kept a 
watch about all night there were seven of us. The natives 
were talking close to us the whole night, within 100 yards. At 
daylight two men came to us, when we made signs that we would 
not harm them. They came to ask for the black boy Billy Clarke. 
As it was about three weeks after Dr. Clarke had taken him, they 
wished to know if we had eaten him, and said his mother was very 
sorry and cried very much. 

In October I took up my station on the River Moorabool 
(Borhoneyghurk), 35 miles from Geelong. Mr. George Russell 
then lived on the Moorabool, 1 2 miles from Geelong, but had an 

2 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

out-station on the Leigh, whore his house now is; but about 
November the natives drove three men (two shepherds and a hut- 
keeper) from their hut, notwithstanding the men having shot two 
of them. They robbed and burned the hut to the ground, so that 
Mr. Russell vacated that river for some months. In January 1838 
G. F. Read took up his station on the River Leigh ; next came the 
Learmonths, Henry Anderson (occupying what is now John 
Winter's station), and the Yuilles, near Buninyong, I think about 
March or April. 

About the same time Stead, Cowie, and Robert Steiglitz came 
above me on the Moorabool, and, about twelve months after, John 
Wallace and Egerton. In October 1846 my brother Hugh and 
I took up Benyeo on the South Australian boundary, where he now 
resides, about 100 miles from Portland, on the border of the mallee 
scrub. There never were many natives in that part. What few 
there are have been very useful, but they are dying off fast as in 
all parts ; there seldom is a child born, and when such a thing does 
happen it soon dies. The first natives I saw after taking up my 
station on the River Moorabool was a party of about 20. I was 
shepherding my own sheep at the time, as all my men were shear- 
ing. I was two miles from the hut, but, as I had my double- 
barrelled gun with me, I signed to two of them to come and speak 
to me, as I wished to tell them they must not come too near the 
hut; and it was many mouths before I did allow any to come, but 
sent their provisions to them when they worked for me. I have 
counted 340 together at their meetings in 1843 and 1844. Since I 
came to the Wannon I have never seen more than about 70 together. 
I know of 12 quite young men who have died in this district 
within the last two years. I had two young men with their wives all 
lastwinter, nursing them at least three of them. One of the women 
(or rather she was quite a girl of about thirteen) got the provisions 
and cooked for the others, who could hardly move, and appeared in 
great pain indeed. From being in the summer fine strong young 
men they became perfect skeletons, and they are now perfect 
wrecks, although quite recovered. You are, perhaps, aware that I 
had one constantly with me for nine years; his father and mother 
gave him to me when about ten years of age, and he, as well as his 
parents, appeared to at once consider him my property. He 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 3 

followed me wherever I went, was in Sydney and V. D. 
Land, and was very much attached to me. He grew a very fine 
man, and his tribe forced him to leave me. Fearing you may be 
in a hurry for an answer, I scud this as it is, having received a 
kick in the hand from a colt to-day. I hope you will therefore 
excuse the roughness of it. 

Your most obedient servant, 

J. N. McLEOD. 
His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

No. 2. 

SIK, Colac, 18th August 1853. 

I had the honour, on the 10th instant, to receive Your Excel- 
lency's letter dated 29th July, requesting information as to the time 
and circumstances of the first occupation of the Colac country, &c., 
and have now the honour briefly to give Your Excellency what 
information I possess. 

The Colac country was first occupied in September 1837 by 
myself, accompanied or immediately followed by Messrs. Gr. F. and 
A. Lloyd, and Wm. Carter ; my flock consisted of 100 ewes, and 
theirs jointly of 500, Avliich we joined together for mutual protection. 
These sheep were brought from Van Diemeu's Land, at a cost of 
about 3 per head, the price there at that time being 2. 

We were the only occupants of the country for about six 
mouths, our nearest neighbour being Mr. Thomas Ricketts, who 
occupied a station on the River Barwon about ten miles distant 
at the point where Gellibraud and Hesse were last seen. 

Early in 1838, Messrs. Pollock, Dewing, Bromfield, and Mr. 
Briggs (for Capt. Fyans) took up the unoccupied land around 
the banks of Lake Colac. They were followed by Messrs. 
Watson and Hamilton, and after them the Messrs. Manifold 
stretched out to the west, and towards the end of that year and 
the beginning of 1839 the squatters spread rapidly over the 
Western District. All those persons I have named came from 
V. D. Land, and brought their sheep from there, except Capt. 
Fyans, who brought cattle from Sydney. 

4 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

I first heard of the Colac country from a party who were 
in search of Gellibrand and Hesse, in August 1837, under the 
guidance of the Rev. Mr. Naylor, and believe they were the dis- 
coverers of it. It may be interesting to state that this party, 
consisting of fourteen men, fitted out by Mrs. Gellibrand for 
three months, at an expense of 700, when arrived at Lake Colac, 
allowed some of the Barrabool tribe of aborigines who were with 
them to murder an old man and a child of the Colac tribe, whom 
they found on the banks of the lake, and afraid of retaliation from 
the tribe fled back in haste next morning, having passed the night 
without fire for concealment, and gave up the search. The 
blacks brought with them, on the end of their spears, portions of 
the man and child they had killed, which I saw them eat with great 
exultation during the evening. They stayed at our tent at the 
Barwon on their return. 

The Colac tribe of natives was not numerous when we came 
here men, women, and children not numbering more than 35 or 
40. From their own account, they were once numerous and 
powerful, but from their possessing a rich hunting country, the 
Barrabool, Leigh, Wardy Yalloak, and Jaiicourt tribes surrounding, 
made constant war upon them, and the tribe, from having been 
the strongest, became the weakest. The extent of their country 
was a radius of about 10 miles from Lake Colac exce*pt on the 
south, where in the extensive Cape Otway Ranges there was no 
other tribe. 

We had very little intercourse with them for the first eighteen 
months, their demeanour towards us being always treacherous and 
dishonest. They never lost an opportunity of stealing our sheep 
at first by night carrying off a few from the fold, but afterwards 
became more daring, and drove off a score or two in the day time 
from the shepherd. These they would take to some secure corner 
and feast upon them, breaking the legs of those they did not at 
once kill, to detain them. In such cases the settlers assembled and 
pursued them, and when their encampment was discovered they 
generally fled, leaving behind them their weapons, rugs, &c., 
which, together with their huts, were destroyed. I am happy to 
think that they met with more forbearance here than in many 
other parts of the country, and to be able to state with certainty 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 5 

that never upon any such occasion, or at any time since their 
country was first occupied, was one of their number shot to death, 
with one single exception, when I believe a man died of a shot 
wound he received after having thrown a spear, and while in the 
act of throwing another at one of a party in pursuit of his stolen 

After about two years our acquaintance became more friendly, 
and they began to be employed upon our stations. 

I have, &c., 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

No. 3. 

DEAR SIR, Moorabee, 15th August 1853. 

I only received yours of the 27th ult. last week, which will 
account for it not being replied to sooner. 

It will afford me much pleasure to give Your Excellency any 
information in my power on the subjects upon which you require it. 

In November 1836, I had shipped six cargoes of sheep from 
V. D. Land for Port Phillip, and landed myself, early in 
December, at Williamstown, and finding the country almost totally 
unoccupied, I took up the Greenhill Station about 25 miles north, 
and posted an out-station at what is now called Bacchus Marsh 
then without a white inhabitant. Soon after my occupation, say 
early in 1837, Messrs. James Clarke, Bacchus, Why te Brothers, and, 
I believe, Messrs. Powlett and Green, took up country beyond me 
to the west, called the Pentland Hills, and in an exceedingly 
short space of time that whole country was stocked with sheep 
from V. D. Land, as the arrivals at Geelong, with sheep, pressed 
up the Moorabool till they came in contact with the pioneers 
of Williamstown. In 1838, the Whyte Brothers travelled west, 
with their stock, in search of another run, and took up a country 
about the Wannon, but met with great difficulties from the deter- 
mined ferocity of the aborigines, which ended in a conflict and 
great loss of life to the latter, 

6 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

The Messrs. Wedge, the same year, took up a run called the 
Grange, south of the Whytes ; and also, like them, experienced 
great annoyances from the natives. In 1839 they sold to William 
Forlonge, who sold to me in 1840. At that period the country 
between that and Geelong was very thinly peopled many parts 
being unoccupied, and that that was taken up was thinly stocked. 

The aggressions of the aborigines in that quarter at that time 
were such as to call for the interference of the Crown Lands 
Commissioner, Captain Fyans. 

In October 1843, I took my family to a station on the north of 
W. Mollison's, which was taken up by Messrs. Button, Simson, 
and Darlot in 1841 or 1842, who sold to Rule, a builder in Mel- 
bourne, from whom I purchased, and called it Tourbouric, after 
the aboriginal name of a large hill there. This station was in a 
state of nature, and on it I erected very considerable improve- 
ments, which are now used as an inn called the Pick and 

The country down the Campaspe to the Murray, and down 
that river, was first, I believe, settled in 1840, but I cannot speak 
positively, as I did not visit it till 1846, when I selected some 
unoccupied country (which I named Pine Grove, from the number 
of pines in that locality), on the plains to the south of the Murray 
and east of the Mount Hope Creek. At that period the country 
round was but lightly stocked. 

Moorabee, the station on which I now reside, was taken up by 
Captain Hutton about 1838 or 1839. He sold to Daniel Jennings, 
who sold to C. H. Ebden, who only held it about three months, 
when I purchased it in August 1851, at a very high rate, under the 
firm conviction that the orders of Her Gracious Majesty would be 
carried out in the fullest integrity towards the occupants of Crown 
Lands termed " squatters." 

The aborigines have invariably shown themselves hostile to 
the settlement of new country, but became more reconciled as 
their intimacy increased with the Europeans. I have always been 
favourably disposed towards them, and tried to encourage those 
that visited my stations in habits of industry by rewarding them 
well when they did exert themselves, and I would have been most 
pleased had I succeeded in ameliorating their condition ; but I 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 1 

regret to add I found all my endeavours fruitless, and, extra- 
ordinary to say, with civilization they are so fast decreasing from 
a constant warfare kept np amongst them, together with disease, 
that in an extraordinary short space of time I believe the race 
will become extinct. 

Should the foregoing remarks prove of any service to Your 
Excellency, it will afford gratification to 

Your most obedient servant, 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

No. 4=. 

SIB, Charlotte Plains, 24th August 1853. 

Your favour of the 27th July I only received by last post. 
I do not exactly understand what you require me to state, but the 
following is a brief sketch of the circumstances attending my 
settling in Port Phillip. Any superfluous matter I hope you will 
excuse, and anything wanting I shall be happy to supply at any time 
you may require me to do so. 

In November 1839, 1 arrived in Melbourne by sea from Sydney, 
on my way to South Australia, and made a tour through a consider- 
able portion of the Province, and wrote to my brother, who was then 
collecting a large stock in Maneroo, recommending the Portland Bay 
District, for which place the stock accordingly started, under the 
charge of Mr. J. M. Darlot. I may mention that it consisted of 
13,000 sheep, 4,000 head of cattle, and 100 horses. When they 
arrived at Mount Alexander, my brother (who had come by sea 
to Melbourne) met them, and after exploring to the northward, 
decided on taking up the country on the Loddon instead of 
proceeding to Portland Bay heavy losses from catarrh and scab, 
and the ewes having commenced to lamb, being the cause of his 
doing so. In about June 1840 he took up the station now known 
as Cairn Curran, and in the occupation of Mrs. Bryant, and during 
the year the stations now known as Charlotte Plains, Janevale, 
Langi-Coorie, and Glenmona, comprising all the country from 
the range to the west of the Porcupine Mount to the Pyrenees. I 

8 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

returned to Sydney in January 1840, and did not again visit Port 
Phillip till June 1841, when I arrived overland, and shortly 
afterwards purchased the whole of my brother's stock and stations. 
On my arrival on the Loddon I found my neighbours were Messrs. 
Campbell and McKnight on the stations now Mr. Wm. Campbell's, 
and on which the Forest Creek and Fryer's Creek diggings are ; 
Mr. Lachlan Mackinnon on the station now belonging to Mr. W. 
M. Hunter; Mr. Colin Mackinnon on the station now Messrs. 
Joyces'; Mr. Donald Mackinnon on the station now Mr. Bucknall's; 
Mr. McCallum on his present station ; Mr. Jas. Hodgkinson on 
his present station; Mr. Catto on his present station; and Messrs. 
Heape and Grice and Mr. Chas. Sherratt on the stations now 
occupied by Messrs. Gibson and Fenton all the rest of the country 
to the northward being unoccupied. 

I almost immediately after my purchase sold the station now 
known as Cairn Curran to Messrs. Cole and Langdon, and shortly 
afterwards the station of Glenmona to Messrs. McNeil and Hall. 
In about May 1842 I took up the station now occupied by Mr. 
Morton, below Mr. Catto, and sold it shortly afterwards to a 
Mr. Sellars, on which then the lowest permanent water in 
the Loddon existed. In about twelve months afterwards 
Messrs. Bear, Booth and Argyle, Brain and Williams, and Thorpe 
took up extensive stations on the Loddon and Serpentine Creek 
and the remainder of the Loddon down to its junction with the 
Murray was taken up in 1845 by Messrs. McCallum, Curlewis, 
Cowper, and others. From the time of my arrival on the Loddon 
the aboriginal natives were concentrated under the charge of Mr. 
Parker at Jim Crow Hill (Mount Franklin), and with the exception 
of murdering a Mr. Allan, who had a small cattle station (which 
I afterwards purchased) between Mr. Catto and me, committed 
no depredations of any consequence, and were very useful to the 
settlers in cutting bark and at sheep-washing. 

In the latter end of 1842 Messrs. Gibbon sold a small station 
they had taken up below Glenmona on the Fourteen Mile or Bet 
Bet Creek to Messrs. Foster and Stawell, who shortly afterwards 
occupied a large scope of country on the east side of the Pyrenees ; 
and Mr. Colin Mackinnon having sold his station on the Loddon, 
took up a station to the northward of them, In April 1843 I 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 9 

started with some stock from this station with the intention of 
taking up some new country either on the Avoca or Wimmera. I 
passed the north end of the Pyrenees, crossing the Avoca, Avon, 
and Richardson, all of which were completely dry for from 15 to 
20 miles to the north of my course ; so much so that only for a 
timely shower I would have had to return. I made the Wimmera 
abreast of Mount Zero (the north point of the Grampians), and 
not liking the then parched and dusty Wimmera Plains, I crossed 
over to the head of the Glenelg, and in June took up the station 
now known as Glenisla, my nearest neighbour being Mr. Fairbairn, 
about thirty miles down the river. Mr. Chas. Sherratt, who 
accompanied me, immediately returned, and in the course of a 
month or two brought his stock from Mount Alexander and took 
up the country between me and Mr. Fairbairn. Immediately 
afterwards Mr. P. D. Rose took up the country between me and 
the Grampians. At this time the whole of the country on the 
Avoca, Avon, and Richardson was vacant, as also was the whole 
of the Wimmera below the Ledcourt Station, then owned by 
Mr. Benjamin Boyd, now by Mr. Carfrae ; but in a few months, 
Messrs. Taylor and McPherson, Darlot and McLachlan, Splatt 
and Pynsent, Wilsons, and Major Firebrace occupied the Wimmera 
down to Mount Arapiles. In 1844 I left Gleuisla in charge of my 
overseer and returned to the Loddou ; consequently from personal 
knowledge I can't enumerate any further particulars as to the 
occupying of the country. 

During my residence at the Glenelg the aboriginal natives 
were very troublesome, constantly taking sheep in large lots by 
force from the shepherds or stealing them from the fold at night. 
I had to follow them three different times driving my sheep away, 
but each time overtook them, after several days' harassing tracking, 
and took from them all the sheep they had not eaten or destroyed ; 
but not without running considerable risk in doing so, and 
having received several wounds from their spears and boomerangs. 
The last time in particular they broke the legs of about sixty of 
my sheep, leaving the poor animals to lie in a heap in a small yard 
in, of course, the greatest agony ; and whilst I was examining 
them my horse and I were both severely wounded by a discharge 
of spears from a body of the natives in ambush. 

10 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

The whole of the country about the Pyrenees that I had 
passed thus on my way to the Glenelg was, in 1844, taken up by 
Messrs. Ellis, Elliot and Shore, Mr. James Campbell, Mr. Coutts, 
and others ; and although it has been several times very nearly dry, 
it has never been completely so as in 1843. 

In 1846, having purchased a station near Albury, I took up a 
large amount of country on the Billabong Creek, about thirty 
miles north-west of Albury ; but finding it impossible to dam 
the creek sufficiently full to ensure a permanent supply of water, 
I gave it up to Mr. Charles Huon, who, I believe, now holds it. I 
have had other stations in my possession, by purchase, of which 
I know the particulars of occupation ; but as you have most likely 
received these particulars from other sources, I do not consider it 
requisite for me to send them. 

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, 

C. J. La Trobe, Esq., Melbourne. 

No. 5. 

SIR, Ledcourt, September 1st 1853. 

I have the honour to acknowledge Your Excellency's circular 
of the 29th July, requesting information connected with the taking 
up of this station ; also with the habits and customs of the abo- 

In reply I have to inform Your Excellency that, having been 
a resident on this station for only five years, I am unable to give 
you any authentic account of the first settlement. This, combined 
with all the original occupiers having left this district, must plead 
my apology in not going into any detail. 

Mr. P. D. Rose, of Rosebrook, has taken a wide circuit 
(including Ledcourt), and in his report has entered fully into this 
station. Therefore anything I could write on the matter would be 
merely repetition. I have given Mr. R. various little gleanings 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 1 1 

I have picked up since my residence here, which he has embodied 
in his report. 

Trusting my explanation will bo a sufficient excuse for not 
entering into particulars, 

I have the honour to remain 
Your Excellency's most obedient servant, 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobo, Esq. 

No. 6. 

Roslin, Geclong, September 21st 1853. 

I have to apologize for my apparent delay in replying to Your 
Excellency's circular of 29th July, requesting information upon 
the subject of the first settlement of Port Phillip (now the 
colony of Victoria). In this my reply I have the honour to state 
that my remarks upon this subject will be confined to matters 
in which I was personally concerned or what came under my 
own observation. 

In the year 1835 I was a resident of Van Diemen's Land, when 
the rumour of this fertile land reached that place, and induced many 
of ray fellow colonists to make a voyage to spy out the land. Their 
report being favourable to Port Phillip as a grazing land, a 
number of persons formed themselves into a company under the 
style of the "Van Diemen's Land Association," who, with some 
sheep, started for Port Phillip. With this party were the Messrs. 
J. and H. Batman and J. Fawkner. Mr. J. Batman and Mr. J. 
Fawkner settled at Doutta Galla (now Melbourne), while Mr. H. 
Batman returned, and by his flattering accounts I was induced to 
forward to Port Phillip a flock of 750 sheep, with six freedmen as 
shepherds, under the charge of Robert Mudie, Esquire, in the 
ship Adelaide. Mr. Mudie having settled the flock with the 
shepherds, returned, and again sailed in the JVorval, with 500 
sheep and five shepherds ; and on the next voyage of the same 

12 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

vessel I sent 1,100 sheep and seven men. On this voyage they 
encountered a heavy gale, aud were compelled to run into what is 
now called Western Port, where it was deemed necessary to land 
the sheep, and in doing so my good friend Mudie lost his life by 
the upsetting of the boat in a heavy surge between the ship and 
the shore. With the exception of 75 sheep which were recovered, 
this large flock became a prey to the natives and native dogs. 
On this voyage Messrs. Gellibrand, W. Robertson, and one or 
two other gentlemen visited Port Phillip. On their return I was 
made acquainted with the melancholy loss of my friend Mr. 
Mudie, and then set about making arrangements to come over 
myself, and took my passage in the ship Caledonia, having 
Messrs. Strachan, Austey, Gatenby, G. Russell, Dr. Thomson, 
and a few others, for fellow -passengers. We landed, after a 
pleasant voyage, at what is now called Williamstown, where 
Dr. Thomson pitched his tent, the others proceeding to Doutta 
Galla (Melbourne). Here we found a house of entertainment where 
we could not get entertained. This building was of turf or sods, 
with a portion of wood, and comprised six apartments of a very 
primitive order, occupied by "Johnny Fawkner," as a public-house, 
and was, of course, "The Royal Hotel," it being the first and then 
the only public-house in the district of Port Phillip. Here we 
could get a glass of bad rum and plenty of water by paying a good 
price for the same ; but we could get nothing to eat nor a place 
to sleep in. This celebrated hotel stood on the site now occupied 
by the Custom House in Flinders lane or street. Mr. Batman 
having built himself a hut about the spot where the " Clarendon 
Hotel " now stands, hospitably invited us to share his home, for 
which we were exceedingly grateful, and dined, supped, and next 
morning breakfasted on a schnapper fish and damper, our host 
being a bit of a fisherman as well as occupying the proud situa- 
tion of High Constable, having been appointed by the Van Die- 
men's Land Association, under whose auspices Mr. Batman was 
thus the first and then the only man who wielded the baton of 
authority. The Mansion House was a mud hut about 20 feet long 
and 12 feet broad, the one side of which was occupied by the 
family of our host, whilst our party, consisting of Dr. Cotter, 
Messrs. Anstey, Mager, Gatenby, G. Russell, my working 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 13 

overseer Fergusson, and myself, seven in number, pigged on the 
other side in the best manner we could, and were thankful for the 
shelter. On the following day we got our luggage, provisions, 
&c., from the ship, 1 and on the next day we started to find our 
way to Western Port, in hope of recovering the remains of my 
lamented friend Mr. Mudie. We took an aboriginal for our 
guide, but he, being of a tribe near Sydney, was little acquainted 
with the Port Phillip district, and, consequently, no more use to 
us than to afford us a good deal of amusement by the antic man- 
ner in which he managed to roll himself over the soft mud creeks. 
On coming to a large creek or river, which we could not ford, 
and not being over-sure of our course, we considered it prudent 
to retrace our steps ; having spent two days and slept two 
nights in the bush, we were again grateful for the shade of friend 
Batman's hut at Doutta Galla (Melbourne), where we were 
again hospitably received, and availed ourselves of our host's 
kindness for two days, by way of resting. We then started for 
the Western District, some of my men having taken up a station 
on the River Werribee. Having found matters there to my satis- 
faction, we made our way downwards to the junction with the 
Barwon, which we followed to the station which had just been 
taken up by Messrs. Cowie and Stead on the ground afterwards 
the racecourse, now a cultivated farm, the property of Joseph 
Griffin and known as the old racecourse. Here we were kindly 
received and passed the night. On the next morning we started 
for Indented Head, which had also been taken up by my men as 
a station. Here I found two of my men were missing, and was 
informed that they had been killed by the natives. Having seen the 
stock, &c., all correct, we spent five days searching for the remains 
of the poor fellows, without success. About twelve months after- 
wards their bones were pointed out to me by an old aboriginal 
named " Woolmurgeu," who described the manner in which they 
met their deaths as follows : The men were on their way with a 
pack-bullock laden with provisions for the Werribee Station, and 
were met by a tribe of aborigines near the Murradock Hill. 
The men were both armed with fowling-pieces, which caused the 
wary tribe to entrap them by a stratagem, thus : by persuading one 

1 Per Jfon-al. 

14 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

that lie could shoot an emu, they got him to accompany a portion 
of their party to the one side of the hill, whilst, under pretence of 
having a shot at a kangaroo, they prevailed upon the other to go 
in a contrary direction. Having thus managed to separate the men, 
the latter became an easy prey to these heartless savages, who also 
killed the bullock and made themselves masters of a plentiful 
supply of provisions and all the property in possession of their 
unfortunate victims. I had their bones gathered together and 
decently interred. After resting a day we took a tour into the 
bush, following the course of the Barwon River to the sea, and 
much enjoying the romantic and picturesque scenery, particularly 
the lake Connewarre ; returning by an angle across the country, 
we made Corio (Geelong), where we were struck with the 
magnificent scene which burst upon our view as we reached the 
rise, now the centre of the town, known as Church Hill. The 
splendour and magnitude of Corio Bay, the gentle rise from the 
bay to where we stood, about three-quarters of a mile, and the 
like gentle fall to the River Barwon, the You Yangs, Station 
Peak, the Barrabool Hills, with all the varied scenery of hill and 
vale around clothed in the beautiful verdure of Nature, seemed to 
proclaim this spot as the site of a great mercantile city. Lost in 
contemplation, we were overtaken by night, and had the satisfac- 
tion of finding the shelter of a gum-tree near the place now called 
" La Trobe Terrace " ; here we camped for the night. 

Next morning we made Messrs. Cowie and Stead's, where we 
were entertained with a comfortable breakfast, and likewise got 
our provision bags replenished. We then crossed the Moorabool 
River, and afterwards the Barwon at the place now known as 
Pollock's Ford ; we tethered our horses in the valley and walked 
to the top of Mount Moriac, from which elevated spot we had 
a beautiful prospect of this delightful district, and with the 
assistance of a good telescope we were able to trace the various 
windings of the Rivers Leigh and Barwon ; also from this mount 
we had another view of beautiful Corio and its lovely bay. 
In imagination we could picture a splendid city, with the bay 
covered with ships of all nations, which fancies I have lived 
to see in part realized. This year, 1853, whilst yet under our 
first Governor, a commencement has been made to remove the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 15 

only impediment to the navigation of the bay. The town has 
been beautified by the erection of many elegant buildings, both 
public and private, and many more have been projected, some 
hastening to completion ; whilst we have also had the pleasure of 
seeing the foundation stone of the first railway in the Colony of 
Victoria laid in Geelong. Having thus far digressed from my 
subject, I must return to Mount Moriac, where, having taken our 
bearings, we descended to where we left our horses, and there we 
encamped for the night, and next morning started across the 
country and made the River Leigh at its junction with the Barwon, 
where I afterwards formed my home-station ; we then followed 
up the Leigh River for about six miles, to the place where Mr. 
Russell's station now is ; here we crossed the country in a direct 
line towards the Anakie Hills until we came to the Moorabool 
River, where we halted for the night. In the morning we 
ascended the highest of these hills, from which we had a most 
magnificent view of nearly all the hills, valleys, creeks, and rivers 
comprised within that portion of the country, now the County of 
Grant. We then proceeded to Station Peak, where our view was 
extended over the waters of Port Phillip, to the mountains on the 
opposite shore. From thence we took our course to the Werribee 
Station, which we reached with much difficulty, and next morning 
we started for Doutta Galla (Melbourne), intending to return to 
Van Diemen's Laud ; but finding that our ship had sailed we had 
to content ourselves until her return. To fill up this time we 
employed ourselves in building a house for Dr. Thomson, near 
the spot now occupied by St. Paul's Church. In this we were 
engaged about three weeks, and our vessel having returned, we 
took our passage to Van Diemen's Land, with the full determination 
of returning to Port Phillip, having all been greatly delighted 
with this beautiful country. Being now satisfied that sheep- 
farming would prove a profitable speculation in the New Land, 
as Port Phillip was then called in Van Diemen's Land, we entered 
into a copartnership to carry it out extensively. In this we were 
joined by Messrs. Swauston, Mercer, and Learmonth, and pur- 
chased up the shares and interest of the Van Diemen's Land 
Association. We took the style and title of the "Derwent 
Company." In the latter end of the year 1836 I returned to 
Port Phillip for the purpose of forming the different stations, 

16 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

afterwards occupied by the Derweiit Co., and pitched my tent at 
the south side of Geelong, on the north bank of the Barwon River, 
near where a bridge was afterwards built communicating with the 
Western District. Here I built the first house in Geelong worthy 
of the name ; it is built of weatherboards of Van Diemen's Land 
timber, which house yet stands, and is still rather an ornament to 
what is now called Barwon Terrace. In this house I had the honour 
of receiving His Excellency Sir Richard Bourke, who had come 
hither to spy out the nakedness of the land, and with his suite 
encamped on the banks of the Barwon next to my house. It is 
worthy of remark that on the night of Sir Richard Bourke's 
arrival the district was visited by an earthquake, the shock of 
which \vas felt all over the district. Such a phenomenon has 
never occurred since that time, but I was informed by a very old 
native, King Murradock, that such had been felt before, but it 
was " long, long ago." 

In the month of September (1837), having finished nay house 
and got all things comfortable for the reception of my family, I 
proceeded to Van Diemen's Land to briiig them over, taking my 
passage by the James Watt, the first steam vessel that visited 
these shores. In the month of March following (1838.) I returned 
with my family, and having got them settled at Barwon Terrace, 
I proceeded to inspect the stations already formed, and also formed 
new stations at Mount Mercer and the Wardy Yalloak ; and then, 
accompanied by Major Mercer, Mr. George Mercer, and our over- 
seer named Anderson, started upon an exploring expedition to 
the interior, on which occasion we formed the station at Mount 
Shadwell, which was the farthest out station from Geelong, on 
the eastward of Portland. During this tour I undertook a new 
occupation. Major Mercer and myself being occupied in shaving, 
which operation being observed by some of the natives afforded 
them much amusement, and one of them signifying a desire to be 
trimmed, I undertook the task, which I accomplished amidst the 
yells, shouts, and laughter of some fifty savages with their lubras, 
who enjoyed the affair very much ; and thus I believe myself to 
be the first that shaved an aboriginal of New Holland, and that 
aboriginal the first that was shaved. Nor do I think he ever was. 
shaved again, for his beard was very hard and the razor none of 
the best, rendering the operation anything but pleasant, and I 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 17 

much doubt if he would ever again submit to the ordeal. This 
was nigh being my last joke, as soon after, Major Mercer's servant 
in taking a loaded piece from the luggage, by some means caught 
the trigger upon something, which caused the piece to explode 
the ball passing under the Major's arm, striking a tin pannikin out 
of which I was drinking, and currying it clean from my hand. 

The full del ails of this tour were kept by Mr. George Mercer, 
a copy of whose journal I beg to annex for Your Excellency's 
information. Fro:n this time settlers were pouring into the district 
from Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales with their flocks 
and herds, and the land began to get peopled by mechanics and 
tradesmen ; stores sprung up in every quarter, and the whole 
country began to wear the aspect of prosperity. 

I here conclude this poor, but correct, account of what came 
within my own knowledge, and I feel assured that in most parts 
it will bo, corroborated by others (more able for the task than I am) 
in their returns to Your Excellency's circular. But should there 
be any particular transaction upon which Your Excellency may 
think I can afford further information, I shall be most happy to 
furnish the same to the best of my ability. 

I have the honour to be Your Excellency's 

Most obedient servant, 


His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

Mr. George Mercer's Journal of a tour into the interior of the 
Port Phillip District in the year 1838. 

1st day, 22nd March 1838. Started from the Wardy Yalloak 
S.W. to Elephant Hill, 22 miles through tea-tree scrub. 

2nd day, 23rd March. Course, South to Manifold's Creek on 
the Saltwater Lake, 23 miles. 

3rd day, 25th March. Course, West to Mount Appin, 12 miles 
tea-tree scrub. 


1st. Mount Marathon, N.W. | N. 
2nd. Mount Elephant, N.E. by N. 
3rd. Warrion Hills, East. 
4th. Mount Kate, S.W. 
5th. Mount Mary, North. 

18 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

4th day, 28th March. N.W. N. to Mt. Marathon, about 12 

Bearings from Mt. Marathon. 

list. Mount George, W. by N. 

2nd. Mount Jaufrone, West. 

3rd. Mount William (Grampians), N.W. 

5th day, 1st April. Course, W. by N. to Fresh Water Creek, 

15 miles. 
Cth day, 2nd April. Course, W. by N. to Mount George, 12 miles. 

No water. 

Bearings from Mt. George. 

1st. Mount Jaufrone, West. 
2nd. Mount Alexander (supposed), N.E. by N. 
3rd. West end of Grampians, due North. 
4th. East end of Grampians, N.E. by N. 
5th. Mouut William, N.N.E. (supposed). 
Gth. Distant Hill, E. by N. 

7th day, 3rd April. Course, about N.N.W. to native well, 12 
miles. Brackish water. 

8th day, 4th April. Course, to S.E. end of Grampians to River, 
12 miles. 

Bearings from S.E. Hill, Grampians. 

1st. Mount Alexander (supposed), E. by N. 
2nd. Mount Elephant, E. by S. 
3rd. Distant range of hills, supposed to be the 
Victoria, N.W. 

9th day, 5th April. Course, N.E., about 10 or 12 miles. No 

10th day, Gth April. Course, N.E. to native well near the hill, 
10 miles. Good water but little. 

llth day, 7th April. Course, N.E. to creek near hill (Pyrenees), 
3 miles. 

12th day, 8th April. Course, about E.N.E. to near the further 
end of the supposed Pyrenees, 15 miles. No water. 

13th day, 9th April. Course, for about 6 miles E. by S.; for 
other 5 miles S.W. by W. ; 2 miles S.E.; distance direct 
about G miles E. by S. A little rain-water. 

Letters Jrom Victorian Pioneers. 19 

14th day, 10th April. Course, S.S.E. to bottom of low tiers, 12 
miles. No water. Crossed river and passed Stony Hill. 

Bearings from Stony Hill. 

1st. Mount Elephant, S. by W. 
2nd. Mount Marathon (supposed), S.W. | W. 
3rd. Mount George (supposed), S.W. 
4th. End of Grampians, W. by S. 

15th day, llth April. Course, E.S.E. to creek ; crossed tier and 
thick scrub ; much time lost in cutting round for the 
cattle ; distance, 12 miles. 
10 tli day, 12th April. Halted this day. 

17th day, 13th April 1838. Course, S.E. to creek Smiles beyond 
our Wardy Yalloak Station (now Mr. McMillan's). 
Good water. Distance, 13 miles. 

18th day, 14th April. Course, about S.E. to station at the 
Barwon. Distance to the Weatherboard House, 25 miles. 


No. 7. 

Upper Werribee, Ballan, 
SIR, 12th Aug. 1853. 

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 
29th of July, requesting information as to my first occupation of 
the Werribee country, &c., &c. I succeeded Mr. John Gray, who 
was the first person on this run ; I purchased from him in July 
1842. The adjoining station (Ballanee) I purchased from Mr. 
Kinnear, who had purchased six weeks previous from Mr. John 
Steiglitz, who was the first person that occupied it, having come 
into the country the same time as Mr. John Gray. 

The Morton Plains Station in the Wimmera District I pur- 
chased from Mr. Joseph Raleigh in March 1850; he took the 
run up two years before, and was the first occupier of it. 

My brothers at the Pennyroyal Creek (now the township of 
Melton) took that country up in 1838. They were the first 

c z 

20 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

persons that remained on it, several others before them having 
left it as useless. 

The aboriginal natives here are very few, and have always 
been harmless and useless. At the Morton Plains they are in 
considerable numbers, but have always been (as far as I know) 
perfectly harmless, and in many instances very useful. 

I shall be always pleased and happy to render you or your 
Government any information when it is in my power so to do. 

I have the honour to remain, 
Your Excellency's obedient humble servant, 

T. H. PYKE. 
His Excellency the Lieuteuant-Governor. 

No. 8. 

Macedon, Aug. 1853. 

To His Excellency Charles Joseph La Trobe, Governor of the 

Colony of Victoria, &c., &c. 

In compliance with the request made by Your Excellency to 
me, I gladly avail myself of the earliest opportunity of endeavouring 
to give the information required in answer to the various queries 
contained in that request, and trust it will prove satisfactory. 

I arrived in Melbourne from V. D. Land, accompanied by Mr. 
Charles Peters, with sheep, in the year 1837, and immediately 
after took possession of a run for them at Killamaine, where I 
remained only two years, leaving it in the possession of Mr. 
Robert Aitken. In 1839 I took possession of the Mount Macedon 
Station, which I have occupied even until the present hour, 
depasturing sheep and cattle. It is situated to the N.E. of that 
mountain, and had not been previously occupied by any other. 

At this period all the district was but thinly inhabited, and 
still more so as you advanced into the interior northwards, few 
having reached beyond the River Colibau. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 21 

To the N. of my station were two settlers jointly depasturing 
sheep and cattle, the one a Mr. Ebden, the other Judge Douni- 
thnnio, who became occupiers of their run in the year 1838. Mr. 

Mollison in the same year took possession of a station to the 1 

of the Coliban ; also Messrs. Munro, Yaldwyn, and Jennings 
took possession of stations on the River Campaspe. 

To the N.E. 2 dney sat down and to the E. 

Messrs. Jardine and Fulton followed the same example. All those 

parties were depasturing 3 first two mentioned and 

preceded me in the district about one year. 

Of the aborigines at rny time of locating there, there was one 
tribe consisting of about 150, including adult males and females 
and children of both sexes, Avho camped from place to place in 
their mia-mias, between Mount Macedon and Mount Alexander, 
generally calling at the various stations on their way for the 
purpose of soliciting food. 

They were unable to converse with Europeans, but made signs 
as the means of communicating their wants or desires. They 
were exceedingly simple in their manner and perfectly harmless 
in their bearing to strangers, possessing none of that sanguine 
temperament which characterized many other tribes. I never 
heard of a single outrage committed by any one of them upon any 
settler, nor even on any of their servants unto the present hour. 

As to those who followed me in extending the settled districts 
around, I cannot say anything definite ; otherwise it would give 
me pleasure to do so. All I can say is that during the years 1840 
and 1841 several individuals settled the Mount Alexander and 
the Loddon Districts. 

In answering the queries I have confined myself to facts 
which came within my own knowledge only, without adopting 
another person's account. Should it prove to be what Your 
Excellency requires, I am most happy in subscribing myself 
Your Excellency's 

Most humble and obedient servant, 


1-2-3 The words which should follow here are burnt oat of the MS. Ep, 

22 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

No. 9. 

Wando Vale, 2Cth September 1853. 

To His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq., 
Lieutentint-Governor, Victoria. 


I am in receipt of your circular by last post, and I am afraid 
I can give you but little information connected with the settling 
of our district ; but if a few extracts from the store of recollec- 
tion will be of any use to you, you are welcome to them, with part 
of my own personal narrative. 

I arrived in the neighbouring colony of Van Diemen's Land in 
the year 1831, and, like many of my countrymen, wiiha lightpurse 
one lialf-crown and a sixpence was all my pocket contained when 
I landed at Hobart Town with a few fellow-passengers. After 
walking through the streets for some two hours, they proposed 
having something to eat and drink, which I could not refuse joining. 
After bill was checked the little now I was left with, only six- 
pence I found it would not do for me to keep company any longer; 
so 1 left under the pretence of seeing a friend, but in reality to look 
for employment, which was easily found. Next morning I left the 
ship for my work, and never saw any of the passengers again. I 
remained for nine years in Van Diemen's Land, as overseer with two 
different masters on their farms, and at the end of 1840 1 had saved 
about 3,000 from hard work. About this time I learnt that one 
of my sisters had been recommended to come to the colony on ac- 
count of bad health, and that another of them would come with her. 
I determined to form a home of my own, and, owing to the ex- 
travagant price of land and stock in Van Diemen's Land, I looked 
to this colony as the place where I ought to invest my little all. In 
January 1840 I bought 1,000 ewes for 1,800 ; a team of six 
working bullocks, two cows, and a horse, for 195. Freight, 
stores, tools, &c., &c., cost 311. With four men at a wage 
of 175, I left for Portland Bay on the 17th February 1840, 
and had to wait near Portland for the return of the vessel. 

I had previously agreed with a Mr. Corney to take the half of 
the vessel for fear of a bad trip, so as to divide the risk. But 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 23 

we were fortunate. By care and attention and fine weather, we 
only lost ten sheep, and a working bullock of mine had its neck 
broken, to replace which I had to pay 30 for another. 

I had no difficulty in finding a run, as the Messrs. Hcnty were 
applied to by my former employer to forward my views, and by 
doing so they would be conferring a favour on him. They pointed 
out their boundary, and I took possession of the land adjoining, as 
there were but three settlers here before me Messrs. Henty, 
Winter, and Pilleau. The latter had no sheep, but had taken up 
a run. Whyte Brothers, from the Pentland Hills, near Melbourne, 
came on to the VVannon country the week before I arrived, follow- 
ing iu the track of Wedge Brothers, who stopped at the Grange, 
passing all that fine sheep country from Fiery Creek to the Grange, 
for permanent water. Messrs. Addison and Murray arrived on 
the Glenelg River from Portland the same day I came on the 
Wando, and they ran about putting up frames of huts, thinking 
to secure country by that means that would have kept 200,000 
sheep (if they had got leave to keep it) with 700 sheep. 

The same week (the second in March 1840) Messrs. Savage and 
Dana took up Nangeela on the Glenelg; Messrs. Wrentmore and 
Butcher took up Warrock Station on the east bank of the Glenelg, 
and Messrs. Corney Brothers occupied Cashmere on the east and 
west bank of the Wando River; Thomas Tulloh the Wannon 
Falls. In April following, Mr. Thomas McCulloch put himself 
down between Addison and Murray, Mr. Corney, and self, taking 
part from each, but most from me, from fear of going outside, where 
there was plenty of land, from fear of the natives. The same week 
Mr. Purbrick took part of Whyte Brothers', Pilleau's and Tulloh's. 
As we had all arrived from Van Diemen's Land direct, we knew 
nothing of the squatting regulation, and by the end of April we 
were all quarrelling about our boundary, and as we had no com- 
munication with Melbourne but by water occasionally, we all 
looked forward to the arrival of the Crown Lands Commissioner, 
and his duties seem at that time very ill-defined, and, owing to the 
conflicting testimony of the witnesses, he had a most difficult task 
to adjudicate. Although I had contented myself with about 12,000 
acres, as there was a sort of natural boundary, by the end of June, 
when Crown Lands Commissioner Fyans arrived, I was left with 

24 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

less than 2,000 acres. And even the place where my home-station 
was formed was not secure. Although myself, and my neighbour, 
Mr. Ileuty, decided on a boundary when he pointed out the land 
to me, he, Mr. II., procured a letter from the C. L. C., for me to 
remove my home-station, as it was too near his boundary, which 
letter was not presented to me until the Commissioner had left the 

I was exceedingly anxious to get on with my improvements, 
and I liked the spot I had chosen. I did not consider myself justi- 
fied in going on with the improvements until the return of the 
Commissioner six months afterwards, for fear I should have to 
remove my head station. By this time my qunrter was about the 
best in the district. I had a paddock, with plenty of hay and corn 
for a hungry horse. When I learnt that (he Commissioner was in 
the neighbourhood, I waited on him about twenty miles off, in- 
vited him to my place, and held out the bait of hay and corn to his 
horses (knowing some little of human nature) ; I did not forget the 
man as well as the horses. It had the desired effect. He promised 
my place the site I had chosen, told me I had been misrepre- 
sented to him, and after seeing his horses next morning, offered 
to extend my boundary in order to put my place in the middle of 
my run, which offer, to his astonishment, I declined, and by this 
second visit I was put in possession of my original boundary. I 
may here observe that the CroAvn Lands Commissioner made my 
place his quarters for nine years afterwards, and I saw a good deal 
of the wrangling among the squatters in this part of the district, 
and I may remark he had a most difficult task to perform there 
was no posssibility of his seeing the boundary of the different 
lands, and if he had, it was through thick forest, where each 
tried to lead him astray, and where he had never been before. 
His district was large, which did not admit of the time the 
land was taken up so rapidly. The most conflicting evidence 
was given by unprincipled men, and often, I am sorry to say 
such matters, so that there was no getting at the truth who was 
the first to occupy the land. From what I have seen the C. L. C's. 
office was no sinecure in this district at all events. 

Numbers of the young gentlemen who came out to this colony 
about that time, with a few hundred pounds, took up runs witli 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 25 

300, 400, and 500 sheep, clubbed together, and expected to make 
fortunes in a few years, from the way they spoke, and the way 
in which they managed their sheep farms. Few of them knew 
anything of mechanics, and they were totally unable to make 
comfort for themselves or their servants. In consequence of which 
they fell back lower in morality and energy than many of their 
men, for dirt and filth were noticeable in places and persons, 
and their pride was, who would rough it best. They even went 
so far with their indolence as to drop shaving themselves, and 
it was no bad criterion to know how a man managed his station 
if the owner was seen looking out through a large wisp of hair 
on his face. The three eventful years, which will long be 
remembered in this colony, of 1841-2-3, swept off most of 
these young gentlemen with their herds and all. About twenty 
of the squatters in the Portland Bay District (that were fast 
men) were sold off. Three or four I knqw compromised for less 
than half with their creditors, and three other large stations 
were so overwhelmed in debt, that they are only recovering from 
it now and there is not one station, that I knew, but my own, 
and Addison and Murray's, in the Portland Bay District, that 
is occupied by the original squatter. Every station has changed 
hand either by dissolving partnership, letting, or selling even 
that of Murray and Addison (this is the third brother of the 
Addisons, two having died) ; so that I am left the only one now 
that I know of. 

I did not feel the effect of the three bad years like most of my 
neighbours. I had still 500 in V. D. L. to fall back on, which 
all went to carry on my station by the end of 1843. With the 
wool of that year I bought for my cousin, Warrock Station on the 
Glenelg, with 2,500 sheep and team of bullocks and all improve- 
ments, for 300. This station had been formed by Messrs. 
Wrentmore and Butcher for a Mr. Wilmore in V. D. Land, and 
cost that gentleman 5,700, forming and keeping it for three 

Nangeela was offered to me a few days after, with the same 
number of sheep, for 400, which station had been bought by the 
gentleman who offered it to me, at a sheriff's sale in Melbourne, for 
230, the price of a dray and team of six bullocks (with the 

2C Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

expenses of bills and law added) lhat had been bought for the 
station in 1841, and paid for by bill at the time. 

As I have before said, in the three years from 1840 to 1843 I 
had invested 3,000 in my sheep station. It is true that in that 
time the station had fsillen in value to 300 or 400, but still the 
money was sunk. I did not come here as a sheep farmer with the 
intention of making a fortune in a few years, and leaving. I came 
with the intention from the first to form a comfortable home for 
self and two sisters, and live by the way, making and having as 
many little comforts within ourselves as the country could afford 
with frugality and industry. As a loading feature with us, we kept 
only one house-servant, and often none, so that the housekeeping 
expenses never reached 300 a year. 

I commenced with 1,000 sheep ; at the end of five years there 
wore 7,300 sheep on the run, and from 8,000 to 10,000 is the 
number I keep on it when full stocked. There are 11,810 acres 
of land, a pretty little station, well watered. I shall have been 
here fourteen years in March next, and all the cash I have taken 
out of the concern is 5,324, with expectations 1,500 more in 
wool now coming into the London market. It is true, if my stock 
and station just now were sold they would bring, with purchased 
land and improvements, about 13,000; but if the Government 
resumed the land, or took it away for any purpose, the stock and 
station (that is, purchased land) would not be worth more than 
4,000, so that I have worked hard for fourteen years for 1 1J824, 1 
and 3,000 of this sum was money invested. I may here mention 
that 4,324 of the above money was given away, as it was 
saved, to relatives who needed it, so that I have never had money 
at interest since I came here. This 11,824 gives me somewhere 
about 84,5 a year, suppose my run to be required by Government, 
and if you deduct interest on the 3,000, at the rate of 1 2^ per cent., 
which merchants charge for money borrowed on stations, that would 
leave me a clear profit of 470 a year for the last fourteen years 
and allow only for the keep of myself and wife and for my labour, 
for which I received 500 a year and keep when I left V. D. 
Land. The above is a true statement, which I can show data for, 
at any time, and you may make such use as you think proper of 

1 The figures in this passage are printed exactly as they occur in the MS. KD. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 27 

it. There is not a station in the Portland District better managed 
for its size, both as regards economy and care of man and beast in 
it, and I have always endeavoured to live as a farmer should do 
with such an income. I have no doubt there are numbers here 
who make their stations pay bettor, but most of them live little 
better than my pig does, and this kind of sheep farmer mostly, 
when he goes to town, does not like to return to his station, and 
often spends a deal of money at taverns in town, because he has 
such a comfortless home. 

In the month of June 1840, the station that is Willis and 
Swans ton's Glenelg, Pigeon Ponds, Chctwynd was taken up by 
Thomas Norris for a V. D. Land company of four gentlemen. 
Messrs. W. and A. Forlonge sold their farm of 3,000 acres in 
V. D. Land for 9,000 sheep, and William Forlonge went into part- 
nership with three merchants in Hobart Town. They were to 
keep all the female stock until they had 100,000 sheep ; sell 
the male stock the manager Norris to have 500 a year, and 10 
per cent, on the sale of stock. Two of the merchants turned out 
men of straw ; the other, Mr. Thomas Winter, told me ho had 
9,000 in cash to keep the station going for two and a half years, 
and Mr. Winter cams over in the winter of 1843 to try what he 
could do to recover his money. They sent 4,000 sheep to Hobart 
Town, but they hardly paid the freight. He then left, to sell the 
place, when he found he could not carry it on for want of money, 
and the splendid run with 20,000 sheep was sold to the merchants 
in Hobart Town for 1,900, and it required all the purchase money 
to pay the liabilities, so that poor Mr. Winter lost all his 9,000. 
Mr. Forlonge lost all his sheep. 

To show the reckless way business was managed in those days, 
William and Andrew Forlouge were partners in some purchased 
land near Melbourne; W. Forlonge only, in the sheep station above. 
William offered Andrew his share of this sheep station for the 
share in the land near Melbourne, which was accepted by Andrew, 
and it was not until Mr. A. Forlonge arrived as far as my place 
to arrange with Mr. Winter, that he learnt it was sold to pay the 
debts of the station, and delivered only the day before he came 
here. This was partly to be attributed to the want of postal com- 
munication, as I have before remarked, for our letters were sent 

28 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

from hero to V. D. Land, and from thence to Melbourne, in those 

In October of 1841 Messrs. Jackson and Gibson from Mel- 
bourne came on the remaining unoccupied land on the right and left 
banks of the Glenelg, between Warrock on the right and Nangecla 
on the left, as far up as the company stations of Winter, Forlongo, 
and others, thus fourteen miles on both sides of the river. This was 
the farthest west station for two years. In the Gibson family there 
were two ladies (on the verge of the wilderness), one of them an old 
lady of 70 years of age. Mr. Jackson left for Scotland, leaving his 
station in charge of a Mr. Bell, who occupied the Dergholm Station 
on the Avestbank, Mr. Gibson occupying the Roseneath on the east 
bank about six miles apart. The ladies, Mrs. Gibson and Mrs. 
McFarlane, lived in tents for ten months. Mr. G. was but an indif- 
ferent manager, and had indeed hardships to encounter. Soon after 
they arrived they congregated a large number of natives about their 
place, whom they kept hanging about, doing and undoing, to keep 
them employed. The ladies were anxious to get a garden formed, 
as they had a quantity of English seeds. They got the natives to 
work in the garden for them, but they were expensive labour. 

I have gone to the station and found as many as 20 natives 
round the place and not one white man near the station, Mr. Gibson 
and his men being away splitting or doing something from home. 
I used to expostulate with them about the impropriety of allowing 
the natives to remain about the place when there was no one about 
but the two females. Mr. and Mrs. G. just laughed, and said they 
were poor harmless creatures, and the only precaution used was, Mrs. 
G. carried a broken three-barrelled pistol in a leather belt which 
she wore round her middle ; this formed part of her toilet. On one 
occasion Mr. G. and his only available men were making hurdles, and 
they were in want of nails that were at the Dergholm Station, six 
miles off. Mrs. G., who was fond of riding, offered to go for the 
nails, as they were so much wanted, and to take one of the black men 
for a guide. They arrived at Dergholm the six miles, Mrs. G. 
riding ; the black man, Yarra, walking ; they got 6 Ibs. nails in a 
leather bag, which Yarra had to carry. On the way back, in a 
thick forest, Yarra, who was a little before on a dray track, stopped 
suddenly, caught the bridle of Mrs. G.'s horse, ordered her to 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 29 

get off and walk and he would ride. Mrs. G. had presence of mind 
to pull out her pistol from her belt under her shawl, and presented 
it at the man, who let go the bridle in a moment. With her whip 
she struck her horse, which dashed off, and saved her life. Some 
days after, Yarra brought home the nails, and they all laughed at 
the affair (which they told me some nights after), though there was 
nothing there to laugh at. A few days after this, Mrs. McFarlane 
was in the garden with some of her poor black creatures (as she 
called them), and she was reproving one of them for pulling up the 
young potatoes. Yarra came running at Mrs. McFarlane with 
an uplifted rake, evidently to strike Mrs. McF., when Mrs. G. 
heard the scream, and rushed out with the pistol in her hand. All 
the natives, nine or ten of them, leaped over the fence and were 
no more seen. In the evening, the shepherd at the home-station 
did not come home ; his dog brought about 300 sheep long after 
dark. Mr. G., the only man about the place, next morning went 
in search of his shepherd and sheep ; the poor dog went direct to the 
dead shepherd, about a mile from home. Mr. G. had to walk about 
six miles to Bell's, for his own horses were away. Mf. Bell had 
one man, and Mr. G. tracked the sheep through a long heath 
towards the Wando, and they found about 500 sheep coming back 
again, which they had to return with. Mr. Bell rode 21 miles for 
me and two others ; we all got to Roseneath about three in the 
afternoon. Mr. G. returned with the 500 sheep about the same 
time ; still 700 away. Five of us started, leaving Mr. G. to take 
care of the ladies, as they had been thus without the least protec- 
tion all day, and now became afraid to stop by themselves all night 
with the dead shepherd. After a smart ride of fourteen miles we 
came on the main body of the sheep, but no natives. The sheep 
were nearly all dead ; such wanton destruction no one but those 
who saw it can imagine. There were 610 fine ewes just about to 
lamb, for which 42s. a head had been paid the year before all 
dead ; some skinned ; others skinned and quartered ; some cut open 
and the fat taken out and piled in skins, but most of them just 
knocked on the head with a stick ; meat, fat, and all mixed with 
the fine sand of the stringy-bark forest. 

It was quite evident the natives had left in the morning, for 
all was cold, and we saw no cooking or cooked meat. We agreed 

30 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

to all ride back for two miles, taking the few living sheep with us, 
and one man being left with the horses, to creep back after 
dark, and then all remain ; but no natives came. We returned 
to Rosencath in the morning, buried the shepherd, and six of us 
started in search of the natives, but never found any of them 
for two days. I was out on the third night ; two of our horses got 
away; one of them was mine, and I had to Avalk home, which I was 
afterwards very glad of, for the party fell in with an unfortunate 
native and ran him down, and I believe shot him in retaliation (and 
I now have no doubt he never heard of Mr. G.'s sheep). On my 
way home I came to an out-station hut of my neighbour's for a 
drink of water, and there was our friend Yarra, the native, chop- 
ping wood for the hut-keeper. I looked at him closely, and I saw 
a pair of Mr. G.'s old trousers he had on at the time all smeared with 
blood, whether the poor shepherd's or the sheep's I know not. I 
was only a mile from home, and there I found Mr. Gibson's bullock- 
driver with his team and two men, splitters, returning from Port- 
land on his way home. I told the bullftck-driver what had 
happened, and that I saw Yarra at the hut, and if he could take 
Yarra on with him in the morning in his dray, he might perhaps 
tell who had killed the shepherd. They called friend Yarra, and 
easily induced him to go with them, but when he came in sight of 
the station he got off the dray and was running away, when one of 
the splitters shot him. So ended poor Yarra. After this, there 
was a constant war kept up between the natives and the iwo 
stations Bell's and Gibson's and, I regret to say, a fearful loss 
of life to the poor natives by two young heartless vagabonds 
Gibson and Bell had as overseers when they left. 

The first day I went over the Wando Vale Station to look at 
the ground I found old Maggie (that Sir Thomas Mitchell gave 
the tomahawk to) fishing for muscles with her toes, in a waterhole 
up to her middle, near where the Major crossed that stream. Poor 
old Maggie died about fourteen days since a dreadful sufferer from 
rheumatism ; nearly all her male relatives were killed three days 
before I arrived on the Wando by Whyte Brothers. Three days 
after the Whytcs arrived, the natives of this creek, with some 
others, made up a plan to rob the new comers, as they had done the 
Messrs. Henty before. They watched an opportunity, and cut off 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 3l 

50 sheep from Whyte Brothers' flocks, which were soon missed, 
and the natives followed; they had taken shelter in an open plain 
with a long clump of tea-tree, which (he Whyte Brothers' party, 
seven in number, surrounded, and shot them all hut one. Fifty- 
one men were killed, and the bones of the men and sheep lay 
mingled together bleaching iu the sun at the Fighting Hill?. It 
must have been a great relief to me and most of this part, for the 
females were mostly chased by men up the Glenelg, and the chil- 
dren followed them. This I learnt since from themselves. 

The man who escaped was afterwards known as " Long 
Yarra" a very fine-looking man. He afterwards lived for some 

time with a Mr. , a settler, who had taken a fancy to 

Yarra's gin, Lewequeen. There had been some very unpardonable 

conduct on the part of Mr. , who, I was of opinion, was at 

times deranged. In the autumn of 1843 Mr. and his man 

Larry went to strip bark, taking a bullock-dray, Long Yarra and 
another native with them, about eight miles back on the Adelaide 
road, intending to stop out all night. As soon as they were gone, 
Lewequeen went away, taking her child with her, and did not 
return, and on the third day the shepherd put his flock in the pen 
and came for us. We wont out, following the track of the dray, 
and came on the dead body of Larry, with two eagles pecking the 

remains of his skeleton, and at a short distance Mr. 

They had been in bed when they were attacked, and a frightful 

struggle they must have had, for Mr. was a very strong 

man. It was evidently a concerted affair, there being a number 
of natives, and Lewequeen leaving the shepherd's wife, which 
she had not done before. 

Mr. , of , on the Glenelg run, near me, kept 

a harem for himself and his men. The consequence was, he, 
like many more, had to sell out. All the men and masters got 
fearfully diseased from these poor creatures ; they, of course, 
quarrelled with the natives about their gins, and the natives, to be 
revenged for some of the insults, took away 48 ewes and lambs 
they were followed by some of the neighbours and Mr. 

's own men. They rushed their camp, shot two of 

the natives, one of them a female, said to be Mr. 's 

foremost black woman. All the sheep were dead, which they 

32 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

burned, and one of the neighbours who was out brought with 
him to my house for the night a native basket or Been-ak, with all 
the female paraphernalia of red and white clay to paint, a flint, two 
dead frogs, some shells, and a very neat female foot half-grilled, 
with a large mouthful taken out of the hollow part of the foot. 
My neighbour brought these to me, as he said he knew I was 
curious about such things. 

In the end of 1843 I was passing through the run, and came 
on a black lad crying, with his face fearfully scalded. I asked 
him how it happened. All I could get out of him was, 
" George had thrown a pot of tea in his face." I took him home 
with me, and dressed his face with lime-water and oil ; he felt 
grateful for what I had done for him, and he was the first I ever 
allowed about my place, and he and his wife and child are the 
only ones ever employed by me. They have been with me ever 
since, and I give them 12s. a week and two rations. He is always 
very clean ; but the woman, Jenny, is never clean. 

The native lad Joe told me he was defending his gin, which 
he had just got, from the man George, a bullock-driver, when he 
pitched the scalding tea in his face, and this man was the terror 
of all the fighting men on the Glenelg. About this time Mr. 
McCulloch parted with his overseer, who was too quiet and short- 
sighted, and always lost himself in the bush ; he was stopping 
with Mr. Coruey until he had an opportunity of returning to 
V. D. L. He went out gathering mushrooms, about 800 or 900 
yards from Mr. Corney's house ; he had a red handkerchief 
gathering them in, when a native started up a few yards from him, 
asked his name, and he said " George " ; immediately another rose 
behind him, and spoke to the front native, who, dashing a spear at 
Mr. Lewis, struck him on the breast ; he turned, and now another 
spear struck him on the shoulder-blade, and about four inches of 
the spear broke close off in the wound, which we had to open up, 
and we took out the spear with a pair of pliers. 

The poor man was very ill afterwards, but, I think, as much 
frightened as hurt ; he used to say in his sleep that the men were 
eating him, which he seemed to have a great horror of ; he often 
used to say if he had called himself "Lewis " instead of "George " 
the natives would not have touched him. This is the only outrage I 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 33 

have known of, where the whites were not the first aggressors, or 
that the natives had not theft in view. In all my rambles I have never 
seen but five natives in a state of nature. I have never thought 
them numerous. I am sure I have never seen 500 all put together 
from the Grampians to the sea. I do not mean to say that there were 
not more, for if I were to believe what I have heard of as having 
been killed in different affrays with the settlers, they would amount 
to more than that number. I have on four different occasions, 
when they committed murders, gone out with others in search of 
them, and / now thank my God I never fell in with them, or 
there is no doubt I should be like many others, and feel that sting 
which must always be felt by the most regardless of the deed 
done to those poor creatures ; and in twenty years more there will 
not be one in the Portland District. There are now but two 
settlers in the Portland District that I know who have been severe 
on the natives, and they are doing little good. It seems 
strange none have done any good who were murderers of these 
poor creatures either man or master. I will here change 
the subject, for it is too painful to dwell on, and I cannot 
see the way it could be avoided, for no law could have protected 
these poor people from such men as we had to do with at that 

When I arrived through the thick forest-land from Portland 
to the edge of the Wannon country, I cannot express the joy 
I felt at seeing such a splendid country before me where my little 
all that I was driving before me was to feed. The whole of 
the Wannon had been swept by a bush fire in December, and there 
had been a heavy fall of rain in January (which has happened, less 
or more, for this last thirteen years), and the grasses were about four 
inches high, of that lovely dark green ; the sheep had no trouble 
to fill their bellies ; all was eatable ; nothing had trodden the 
grass before them. I could neither think nor sleep for admiring 
this new world to me who was fond of sheep. I looked amongst 
the 37 grasses that formed the pasture of my run. There was no 
silk-grass, which had been destroying our V, D. L. pastures, where 
I had watched its progress with uneasiness, and I wrote to my friends 
there that I had never been able to detect any of this noxious grass. 
The fire had been so great that one could not get as much grass 

:U Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

as would thatch our hut; we were obliged to take large cut tail-grass 
out of the waterholes. The sheep thrived admirably, and with a 
little care were clean from the scab, and I did know that there 
was such a thing as clean sheep. 

The few sheep at first made little impression on the face of 
the country for three or four years ; the first great change was a 
severe frost, 1 1th November 1844,. which killed nearly all the 
beautiful blackwood trees that studded the hills in every sheltered 
nook some of them really noble, 20 or 30 years old ; nearly all 
were killed in one night ; the same night a beautiful shrub that 
was interspersed among the blackwoods (Sir Thomas Mitchell 
called it acacia glutinosa) was also killed. About three weeks 
after these trees and shrubs were all burnt, they now sought to 
recover as they would do after a fire. This certainly was a sad 
chance ; before this catastrophe all the landscape looked like a 
park with shade for sheep and cattle. 

Many of our herbaceous plants began to disappear from the 
pasture land ; the silk-grass began to show itself in the edge 
of the bush track, and in patches here and there on the hill. 
The patches have grown larger every year; herbaceous plants and 
grasses give way for the silk-grass and the little annuals, beneath 
which are annual peas, and die in our deep clay soil with a few 
hot days in spring, and nothing returns to supply their place until 
later in the winter following. The consequence is that the long 
deep-rooted grasses that held our strong clay hill together have 
died out; the ground is now exposed to the sun, and it has 
cracked in all directions, and the clay hills are slipping in all direc- 
tions ; also the sides of precipitous creeks long slips, taking trees 
and all with them. When I first came here, I knew of but two 
landslips, both of which I went to see ; now there are hundreds 
found within the last three years. 

A rather strange thing is going on now. One day all the creeks 
and little watercourses were covered with a large tussocky grass, 
with other grasses and plants, to the middle of every watercourse 
but the Glenelg and Wannon, and in many places of these rivers ; 
now that the only soil is getting trodden hard with stock, springs 
of salt water are bursting out in every hollow or watercourse, and 
as it trickles down the watercourse in summer, the strong tussocky 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 35 

grasses die before it, with nil others. The clay is left perfectly 
bare in summer. The strong clay cracks ; the Avinter rain washes 
out the clay; now mostly every little gully has a deep rut; 
when rain falls it runs off the hard ground, rushes down these 
ruts, runs into the larger creeks, and is carrying earth, trees, and 
all before it. Over Wannon country is now as difficult a ride as if 
it were fenced. Ruts, seven, eight, and ten feet deep, and as wide, 
are found for miles, where two years ago it was covered Avith 
tussocky grass like a land marsh. I find from the rapid strides the 
silk-grass has made over my run, I will not be able to keep the 
number of sheep the run did three years ago, and as a cattle station 
it Avill be still Avorse ; it requires no great prophetic knowledge to 
see that this part of the country will not carry the stock that is in 
it at present I mean the open doAvns, and every year it Avill get 
worse, as it did in V. D. L.; and after all the experiments I worked 
with English grasses, I have never found any of them that will 
replace our native sward. The day the soil is turned up, that day 
the pasture is gone for ever as far as I know, for I had a paddock 
that was soAvn with English grasses, in squares each by itself, 
aud mixed in every way. All was carried off by the grubs, and 
the paddock allowed to remain in native grass, \vhich returned in 
eight years. Nothing but silk-grass grew year after year, and 
I suppose it would be so on to the end of time. Dutch clover will 
not grow on our clay soils; and for pastoral purposes the lands 
here are getting of less value every day, that is, with the kind of 
grass that is growing in them, and will carry less sheep and far 
less cattle. I now look forward to fencing my run in Avith wire, as 
the only chance of keeping up my stock on the land. 
I am, Dear Sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 


80 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

No. 10. 

Creswick's Creek, 10th August 1853. 

In answering your letter of the 27th July, I feel much pleasure 
in sending you all the information I can remember as to the origi- 
nal settlers in the Western Port District. 

Beginning at the eastern head of Western Port Bay, and taking 
the route towards Melbourne with a few deviations, the first 
station was Massie and Anderson's (cultivation), known then as 
the Old Settlement Station, from the circumstance of there having 
been a settlement formed there some years previous (though not 
at the exact spot they occupied) and afterwards abandoned. At 
that period, viz., 1841-43, a considerable quantity of wild cattle 
was running in the neighbourhood, supposed to have been the 
increase of some that were left when the original settlement was 
abandoned. About two miles from them was Armstrong, who 
succeeded John Thorn, who succeeded Massie and Anderson. 
About five miles from Armstrong were Cuthbert and Gardiner 
(original settlers), whose cattle I piloted myself from the Red 
Bluff, I believe in 1842 ; about twelve miles up the Bay, Fitz- 
herbert M. Mundy (original settler), Red Bluff; about seven miles 
from him Martin, who succeeded Robert Jamieson ; about four 
miles from him Robert Jamieson (original settler). These were 
all the stations at that time on the eastern side of the Saltwater 
Inlets. On crossing them, about three miles on, was Manton's 
(original settler) cultivation and cattle station ; about eight miles 
from him Charles Dodd (original settler), on the south side of the 
creek (the name of which I forget) ; on the north Turnbull and 
Reoch (original). Two miles from them, on another creek, was 
Dr. Jamieson (original) ; two miles from him, on the same creek, 
Captain Howey (I forget whom he succeeded) ; three miles from 
him, same creek, Captain Minton (original), who was killed by a 
tree falling on him. To return to the road to Melbourne, from 
Dodd's about three miles were Bathe and Perry (original); three 
miles from them, north of road, O'Connor (original) ; and about the 
same distance on the other side of the road the Ruffys (original), 
three brothers ; about eight miles from them and three from the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 37 

road, Bacchus and Woolley (original); next Dandenong, Dr.McCrao 
(original) ; up the creek, the Blacks' Station (Thomas, protector) ; 
next, I believe, the Rev. Mr. Clow ; next Mrs. Scott, on the same 
creek; seven miles from Dandenong, on the Melbourne road, the 
" No Good Damper Inn," kept at that time by De Villiers ; and 
five from that Le Man's station, which was the last station I knew 
towards Melbourne. 

I must apologize for sending you such a vague account ; it is 
now some time since I was in this country, and since my return I 
have never visited Western Port, and consequently I do not know 
by whom these stations may now be occupied, and the original 
names of stations and creeks I have forgotten almost entirely. 
My chief residence while in that district during the years 
1841-43 was at Robert Jamieson's. I never had a station 
in Victoria myself. The natives seldom visited the country on 
the eastern side of the inlets except on war excursions. Robert 
Jamieson's station was attacked by blacks, but it was before I 
knew it; they were supposed to be Gippsland natives. 

In conclusion, I beg to state that all goes on well here with 
the gold miners, and the yield of gold continues steady. 
I beg to subscribe myself, 

Yours very truly, 
To His Excellency C. J. La Trobe. 

No. 11. 

SIR, Buninyong, llth August 1853. 

At Your Excellency's request, I have the honour to forward 
the following memoranda regarding the first occupation of the 
country in the districts of the Barwon, Moorabool, Buninyong, 
and Mount Emu, in which my brother and myself were personally 

The narrative is very brief and meagre, but may at least serve 
to mark dates. 

88 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Early in 1837 a fleet of small vessels, perhaps fifteen or 
twenty in number, and each carrying from 300 to 1,000 sheep, was 
employed in conveying stock from the Tamar on the opposite 
coast of Van Diemen's Land, from January to the middle of May, 
during the prevalence of the easterly winds in Bass's Straits. The 
vessels were much crowded, and the sheep were generally on 
board for seven or eight days, so that from want of a proper 
supply of food and water, or from stormy weather, whole ship- 
ments were sometimes almost entirely lost on the passage or 
shortly after landing. The average loss, however, on these im- 
portations was probably about 15 per cent. The sheep were pur- 
chased in Van Diemeu's Land at prices varying from 20s. to 35s. 
each, and the freight and expenses were about five or six shillings 
a head more. 

The original stock being composed entirely of breeding sheep, 
.the first settlers lived exclusively on salted provisions during the 
first year of their occupation, the purchase of which and the large 
expenses necessarily incurred in forming their stations, added to 
the small increase and the loss of wool from the fever engendered 
by the crowded vessels, entirely absorbed the profits of several 
seasons, and in some cases ruined the adventurers. 

The first stations were commenced with flocks varying from 
500 to 1,500, and one or two, such as the Clyde Co. and Derwent 
Co., under the management of Mr. George Russell and Mr. D. 
Fisher, had 3,500 ewes respectively. 

In the month of April of that year (1837) my brother and I 
landed three cargoes from Van Diemen's Land, or about 2,000 
ewes, and we purchased 1,000 more at two guineas a head. These 
we drove up the Barwon River to a place about twenty miles from 
Geelong, and occupied a run on each side of the river, and 
another on the Native Creek to the eastward of the Leigh. 

About a month previous to this, news had arrived of the loss 
of Messrs. Gellibrand and Hesse in the country towards the sources 
of the Barwon, or towards Colac ; and as the aborigines were 
committing depredations within fifteen miles of Geelong (which at 
that time had not even a hut to mark its present site), settlers were 
afraid to penetrate into the interior in order to take up runs, and 
a line drawn at little more than 25 miles from the shores of Port 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. . 39 

Phillip Bay comprised nearly the whole of the sheep stations at 
that time and for some months later. 

In the occupation of the country there was a tacit understanding 
that no one was to take up a station nearer than three miles to 
another person, the intervening ground being equally divided ; 
and this regulation, in general, was sufficient to secure harmony 
among the adventurers as they arrived. There being no Crown 
Commissioner, however, at that time, nor any recognised 
authority but that of the strongest, feuds and quarrels with 
regard to boundaries did take place, which in some cases resulted 
in blows, though in general more good-feeling and consideration 
for the rights of others were observed in the then lawless state of 
the infant colony than might have been expected. 

As it may be interesting in a record of this kind to give the 
names of the earliest adventurers, I enclose a rough map of the 
country on which the stations occupied at the date I arrived (May 
1837) are noted in red ink ; those of which I shall now speak 
and which were occupied in the following year, that is up to May 
1838, are marked in black ink. 

In August 1837 a party consisting of Mr. Darcy (a Govern- 
ment surveyor), Messrs. C. Hutton, G. Russell, Anderson, Fisher, 
Dr. Thomson, and myself took a horse cart, with a tent and pro- 
visions, and one of the aboriginals as a guide, in order to explore 
the country in the neighbourhood of Buninyong, the only hill that 
breaks the horizon to the north-west of Geelong. We reached the 
hill on the second day ; ascended it, and being disappointed by the 
thickly-wooded and inferior nature of the country, and suffering 
from want of food for two days (having separated from the cart), 
the party broke up, some returning down the Moorabool to the 
settled district, while the remainder, on getting on the track of the 
cart, followed it, and continued their exploration till led by the 
native to Lake Burrumbeet, twenty miles to the northward of 
Buninyong. The water of the lake was at that time brackish, 
and the country was thought to be too distant for occupation ; 
the party therefore returned. 

On our return home we learnt from a person who, with others, 
had been in pursuit of a tribe of natives, to the west of Lake Colac, 
in order to recover some property that had been stolen by them 

40 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

from Mr. Ricketts, the furthest settler, that a large sheet of salt 
water had been discovered ; that they could not see across it in one 
direction ; and that there were shells and the appearance of the rise 
and fall of the tide on its shores. As soon therefore as we could 
arrange a second party, we again started to explore this place, 
which, from our informant's account, seemed to be an arm of the 
sea. We were six in number Dr. Thomson, Messrs C. Hutton, 
G. F. Read, W. Scott, my brother and myself and set out in 
September 1837. We travelled by Mount Gellibrand, crossed 
the Wardy Yalloak near its mouth, reached a hill which we named 
Mount Elephant (a name which it still bears), and ascended it, 
observing the magnetic influence of the rocks on the summit, 
which was so great that our pocket compasses were useless when 
laid on the ground and would only traverse when we mounted 
one of our number on the shoulders of two of his companions so 
as to get the bearings of different points on the horizon. From 
thence we went to the .Cloven Hills and to the country subse- 
quently occupied by the Messrs. Manifold, and returned eastward 
by the Pirron Yalloak, having thereby convinced ourselves that 
the sheet of salt water was really an inland lake, and that the ap- 
pearance of a tide, which had deceived our informant, was nothing 
more than the action of high winds on its shore. At the mouth 
of the Pirron Yalloak we came upon a large tribe of natives who 
seem to have been the plunderers of Mr. Ricketts's station, as they 
possessed some of the stolen property. We came upon them so 
suddenly that they had time only to set fire to their mia-mias as a 
signal of danger to the other tribes. We rode up to them, but 
without firing or injuring any of them, and encamped at a short 
distance off. Here we were in some danger, and had to keep a 
strict watch all night, for we saw by the smoke rising in different 
quarters that the signal had been observed and answered, and that 
the other tribes were on the alert. After much shouting and 
answering one another in the forest around us during the night, 
the savages decamped before daybreak, and our danger was over. 
Near our encampment we found a fishing weir of the natives, in 
which were small conical nets of good workmanship. Nearly 
a bushel of delicious little fish like white-bait was in the nets, 
part of which we took, and faithfully remunerated the owners by 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 41 

giving provisions in return to a couple of men whom we induced 
to approach us. 

In the beginning of January 1838, we set out on another 
exploring excursion, the party consisting of Messrs. John Aitken, 
A. Anderson, W. C. Yuille, my brother, and myself. From Mr. 
Aitken's station we went to Mount Macedon, at which Mr. Ebden 
then resided, and thence to the Coliban, where Mr. A. F. Mollison 
had jnst taken up stations, with stock from the Middle District. This 
was the farthest station at that time in that direction; but within 
twelvemonths the Messrs. Coghill, Captain Hepburn, and others 
had pushed on farther. From Mr. Mollison's station we passed 
by Mt. Alexander, followed the Loddon down over the localities 
lately rendered famous by the gold mines of Forest Creek and Ben- 
digo, and crossed the plains at the Deep Creek to the Mount 
Beckwith Ranges, where, being in great distress from want of 
water, we passed a most uncomfortable night under the highest 
point of them, which we called Mount Misery a foolish name, 
which it has unfortunately continued to bear ever since. 

I may be allowed to pause for a moment here to remark with 
regard to this mountain, that it is one of the most conspicuous 
peaks in the country, and that it is seen as a landmark perhaps 
further than any other single elevation in the colony, being the 
culminating point from which rivers that flow into the basin of the 
Murray on the one side, and into the sea to the westward of Cape 
Otway on the other, take their rise. I cannot but regret, therefore, 
that it should continue to bear a foolish name, that originated in a 
thoughtless moment. If I may be pardoned the liberty of doing 
so, I would suggest the propriety of Your Excellency bestowing a 
suitable name upon it before leaving your present Government, 
and further that that name be your own, as a record of one who 
assumed the reins of Government when Port Phillip was the 
weakest of the British possessions, and who is now about to leave 
it the fairest colony annexed to the British Crown. 

From this mountain we came to the northern side of Lake 
Burrumbeet, then covered with a few inches deep of intensely salt 
water, the more tantalizing to us, as both and horses were 
suffering much from thirst. One of our party (Mr. Anderson) had 
already seen Burrumbeet on the occasion of the first excursion I 

42 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

have spoken of ; but he did not recognise it, and we left it on our 
right, returning home by way of Bowling Forest, the Buninyong 
Ranges, and the Moorabool River, at the head of which we found 
the newly-formed stations of Messrs. Cowie and Stead, and of 
Mr. R. Steiglitz. 

Immediately on our return from this exploring tour, my brother 
and I removed our flocks from the Barwon River, where we origi- 
nally settled, and which we already found to be too confined, and 
pitched our tent at our present homestead at Buninyong, and in 
the course of the same year (1838) extended our runs to Burrum- 
beet and the Maiden Hills, which we still occupy. 

At the same time (February 1838) Mr. Yuille occupied Ballarat, 
which has lately proved to be so rich a gold-field, and within the 
year the station of Mr. Clarke at Bowling Forest was taken up, 
and those of the Messrs. Coghill, Birch, and Capt. Hepburn, and 
also of Mr. Bowerman on the northern side of the Maiden Hills, 
which latter was purchased by us in the following year. 

In 1839 the Messrs. Donald took up their runs, and also Messrs. 
Kirkland and Hamilton that now possessed by Mr. Goldsmith. 
The Mount Emu-country was occupied by Messrs. Baillie, Wright 
and Montgomerie, and Mr. Urquhart, and in 1840 the country to 
the westward, towards the Grampians, was being rapidly filled 

The remaining point on which Your Excellency desires infor- 
mation is with regard to the aborigines, their number and their 
demeanour towards the first settlers. 

The anxieties and labour connected with the forming of our 
sheep establishments were so great and urgent at the time of which 
I write that I never bestowed the attention requisite to form a 
correct estimate of the numbers or habits of the natives. They 
never were numerous at Buninyong or in the neighbouring 
district ; though I remember hearing of a gathering of them at 
Mount Emu, which was estimated to amount to 500 ; but I think 
this statement to have been much over-rated. I should consider 
myself to be nearly correct if I set down the whole aboriginal 
population in the district around Buninyong at the time of its 
settlement taking a radius of 30 miles from the mountain as a 
centre at 300 souls ; now probably there are not 300. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 43 

In looking at this rapid disappearance of the native tribes in 
our own district, it is a pleasing subject of reflection that, 
notwithstanding our having had a servant killed, others attacked, 
and sometimes our sheep destroyed, we have never been brought 
into personal collision with them ; nor have we been instrumental 
in taking the life of a single individual ; and, moreover, I am free 
to confess that, considering the wrong that has been done to the 
aborigines in depriving them of their country, they have shown 
less ferocity and have exhibited the desire to retaliate less than 
might have been expected. 

I consider the disappearance of the native tribes in this district 
to be owing, not to the result of encounters with the stockmen 
and early settlers, but to the vices introduced by the white men 
among them, and to the change in their habits, by which the active 
exertion of the hunter's life was exchanged for the idleness and, 
commonly, the plenty they enjoyed in their new condition of 
beggars, thereby inducing diseases and catarrhal affections, to 
which they were not subject before ; for I believe that there is no 
surer way of extirpating a race of savages like the Australian 
native than by supplying them freely with food, and thereby 
taking from them the necessity for personal exertion. 

If there are any other details which Your Excellency may 
desire, and which it is in my power to give, I shall be happy to 
furnish them. 

I am, 

Your Excellency's obedient servant, 

To His Excellency Charles J. La Trobe, Esq. 

No. 12. 

SIR, Smeaton Hill, 10th August 1853. 

In accordance with Your Excellency's circular, I have used my 
poor endeavours to furnish Your Excellency with such information 
as I possess, which I am sorry to say is very limited. With 
respect to the aborigines, and the settlement of this interesting 

44 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

country of my adoption, such information as Your Excellency 
requires will no doubt be supplied by men of talent and education ; 
and I trust Your Excellency will find plenty able and willing to 
contribute, and from better authenticated sources than I possess. 
What I have written is nearly all from memory ; consequently I 
am not to be strictly relied on, having little memoranda to refer to. 

I must beg Your Excellency will pardon me for introducing 
many of my personal affairs, as they are quite foreign to the nature 
of Your Excellency's requirements ; but I trust that some of the 
ups and downs of a squatter might be of interest to some of Your 
Excellency's friends, and might serve for a laugh at my ignorance, 
if no information can be extracted from my observations. 

I must also beg Your Excellency will favour me with plenty 
of latitude for my orthography, my education being a very limited 
one, and no improvement ever having been made until required 
step by step in my profession, which I acquired by perseverance 
only, having no friends but those I made from my services. I 
have been a mere adventurer cast on the world since I was thir- 
teen years of age ; for want of education, my progress was slow, 
and a knowledge of astronomy, with other sciences belonging to my 
profession, was necessary, and for want of a good foundation I 
built on a very slender one; in fact I began where I ought to have 
left off. Under those circumstances, I trust Your Excellency will 
grant me the latitude required. 

I have the honour, to be, 
Your Excellency's most obedient servant 
and sincere well-wisher, 


To His Excellency 

The Lieutenant-Governor. 

It may be necessary here to state my inducement to become a 
settler in Australia after being about 21 years at sea, in all capacities, 
from cabin boy to master. In the year 1833, on my voyage from 
England to Van Diemen's Land and Sydney, I took from the 
former place to the latter a passenger named John Gardiner, who 
had then been some twelve or fourteen years in Van Diemen's 
Land, and who was determined to leave that colony and try his 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 45- 

fortune in New South Wales as a squatter. After some weeks' 
travelling in New South Wales, he returned to Sydney, and from 
the flattering description of the country in the neighbourhood of 
Yass and Molonglo Plains, Mr. G. persuaded me to invest a 
small sum of money, and held out hopes of a good return. By this 
time I had formed a very high opinion of Mr. G.'s integrity, &c., 
which opinion, I am happy to say, has been fully realized and con- 
tinues to this day, 6th August 1853. I was never sea-sick, but had 
been for years sick of the sea, and was beginning to think seriously 
of turning settler. In the year 1835 my good ship, the Alice, was 
sold in Sydney. I was favoured by the merchants of that place 
with the command of a fine steamer (fine in those days) running 
between Sydney and the Hunter River. I then considered my for- 
tune made, getting a much better salary than I had ever before, 
viz., 300 a year, with other means of making money. After being 
in command of the steamer Ceres for a few months, I found not 
only the duties of the vessel but the whole duties of the Board of 
Directors fell on me, and this was more than I could do, being 
worked completely off my feet. Mr. Gardiner seeing the change, 
strongly advised me to give up this situation which I could not 
do in justice to my employers, who treated me in the most liberal 
manner. However, I knocked myself up, from over-exertion ; 
another master was put in (until I recovered) about the 
first week in August 183G, and on the 29th of the same month 
lost the vessel two masters then being on board, Martin and Liv- 
ingston, neither of whom would take the credit of losing the 
Ceres on the coast between Sydney and Newcastle. Everything 
was lost, and nothing was insured not even the ship. Previous 
to this I had joined my friend Gardiner and Mr. Joseph Hawdon 
in a Port Phillip speculation, to take a number of cattle to that 
place, overland. From the time I was left on shore sick everything 
Avent wrong on the steamer, and when my creditors met, I paid 20s., 
and was left with 72 to commence the world, with the exception 
of the sum invested in the above speculation, which was 200. 
Mr. Gardiner strongly urged me to accompany the expedition to 
Port Phillip, which I did. I had sent to England for iny family 
when I got the command of the steamer, and I saw clearly some- 
thing must be done to provide for them ; so now I determined to 

46 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

leave the sea, and do something on shore. Neptune having given 
me my discharge, would have nothing more to do with me. 

To relate what took place in the first part of the journey 
would be most injurious. I tumbled twice off my horse in the 
first eight miles, very much to the amusement of my fellow 
travellers, who had all the sport at my expense. In the month of 
October 1836, the party met at Howe's station on the Murmm- 
bidgee by appointment, Mr. Hawdon having mustered the cattle, 
and brought them to the above station. Howe's being the starting 
point, some delay took place which it is not necessary to mention. 
I took little interest in all that was passing. Mr. Howe was a 
squatter, and kept a few sheep and a dairy station distance about 
180 miles from Sydney. I saw something of the management of 
sheep, &c., while there, and thought the whole very simple. I 
have no data beyond this point, having kept no journal. We 
started with the cattle down the Murrumbidgee ; the whole river 
at that time on both sides was taken up as squatting stations. It 
must be observed, that was the first expedition in which stock, 
either of sheep or cattle, started from the Sydney side. On our 
arrival at Gundagai we met a part of Sir T. (then Major) 
Mitchell's expedition, who had come direct from Portland 
Bay, in charge of a Mr. Stapylton, who gave us some useful 
information respecting the route. We kept down the river to 
Guy's station, then the farthest clown, and of course the outside 
squatter. This was a cattle station, with only two men residents, 
and about 1,000 head of cattle. From this station we took our 
departure from the river, and kept nearly a S.W. course. Nothing 
particular occm'red in the journey worth notice. We reached the 
Murray River in about fourteen days. When the Major crossed 
the country it had been very wet, but many places where we had 
encamped were destitute of water when we passed, although the 
lapse of time was short ; the tracks of the drays were deeply cut, 
and ours, which was moderately loaded, did not make a mark. The 
Murray was running bank-high, and much discussion took place 
about the crossing. We first got the cattle across with a great 
deal of trouble, tied the tarpaulin round the body of our dray after 
the wheels were taken off, and got all safe across, taking a little 
of the load at a time. In getting the horses over, mine was 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 47 

drowned. This was a serious loss that could not be replaced for 
love or money, and, what was most annoying, I was compelled to 
walk, or ride on the dray when tired. We kept the Major's track 
for the whole of the next three weeks. Black Dog Creek -is 
named from Mr. Jos. Hawdon shooting a black native dog there. 
On our arrival at the Ovens River, we had the misfortune of 
breaking the axle of our dray, which delayed us some time. Here 
a number of natives made their appearance, and I must confess I 
was much surprised to see the alarm it caused amongst the men ; 
nothing but guns and pistols was in requisition, and at one time I 
was left to fish the axle by myself. Mr. Hawdou followed the 
blacks, who were very shy; but one, who had seen white men 
before, allowed Mr. Hawdon to prevail on him to come to the 
camp. After a short time he made quite free. We saw nothing 
of the tribe afterwards. This black caught several tortoises in a 
swamp close to where we were encamped, and cooked and ate them. 
This man showed me how the natives procured fire by friction. 
This was the only instance which has come under my notice ; it 
was very simple, but required a quick action. This man continued 
with the party until we crossed the Goulburn, when he took his 
departure without ceremony. He was no use to us, with the ex- 
ception of assisting to lighten our stock of provisions, which was 
not over-abundant. After leaving the Ovens, we had much difficulty 
in getting across what is now called the Broken River. I named it 
the Portage Creeks, they being five in number where we crossed, and 
so soft was the ground that we had to carry the whole load across 
on our backs to save the fished axle-tree for the remainder of the 
journey. On our reaching the Goulburn we saw many symptoms 
that induced us to think the number of natives was considerable, 
but we never saw one. Still keeping the Major's line on a creek 
running into the Goulburn, we came on a very large encampment, 
about 70 mia-mias, but all the natives fled on our approach, leaving 
their fires burning, &c., &c.; also a specimen of their knowledge of 
naval architecture, in the shape of a canoe about 12 feet in length, 
cut rudely from a half round of a box tree, which was bent, and gave 
the canoe a good spring at both ends. This sheet of bark would 
carry four men easily. At this encampment there were some small 
fragments of bottle glass. This was the first sign since leaving the 

48 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Murrumbidgee of anything like a product of civilization. After 
crossing the Dividing Range that divides the Goulburn River and 
the Campaspe country, a council was held about our route, and 
from surveys taken from the most elevated spots a dispute arose 
about the route. I wanted to go round the south part of Mount 
Macedon, and then take a more easterly course, but was overruled 
by Hawdon and Gardiner, to shape a course across the ranges in 
a straight line for our destination, which was done. After some 
rough travelling through the ranges, we came out on the upper 
part of what is now Dr. Baynton's run. Here we took a day's 
rest, admiring the beauties of this interesting spot. I was so much 
delighted with it that I cut my initials on a large tree, and said 
this will be my abode at some future period. This we considered 
the commencement of the Port Phillip country. We then took a 
S.E. course across the Mount Macedon Ranges, and a very rough 
journey we had. After surmounting all difficulties and getting 
safely through the range, the P. P. country opened to our view, 
very much to the satisfaction of the whole party. We came on 
the upper branches of a creek now Deep Creek, east of Mount 
Macedon and from the top of an elevated spot discovered the Bay, 
and with the aid of my glass saw a ship at anchor. We continued 
our course from one eminence to another, and at last saw the smoke 
rising, as we supposed, from the settlement. We here determined 
to take the cattle no further for the present. 

The next day Gardiner, Hawdon, and myself started for the 
settlement. The horse I rode Avas quite done, being one of the stock- 
horses. Hawdon, who travelled too fast for Gardiner and me, left us 
about noon. We arrived about four p.m.; but Mr. H., having over- 
shot the mark, did not arrive until nine p.m., his horse being quite 
done up. There were only a few huts in the settlement (Buckley 
was the first man I saw). One hut was occupied by a Mr. Batman, 
one by Dr. Thomson (somewhere near where the Prince of Wales 
Hotel now stands) ; the other huts were only slabs stuck in the 
ground, forming a roof and covered with earth. One little wooden 
box, belonging to Strachan, stood where the Western Market is 
now, and the Old Lamb Inn was building, but no accommodation 
was to be had for money. This was in December 1836. There were 
several horses and fifteen head of cattle in the settlement. We were 

Letters from Victorian Pioiieers. 49 

looked on by most of the people in the settlement at the time with 
great jealousy, and many would not believe our report. Hawdon and 
Gardiner started next day for the cattle, and brought them in to the 
settlement, while I amused myself in looking out for a run for them. 
My first object was to get an interview with Buckley, thinking 
I might get such information ; but I found him what he had been 
represented, a very stupid fellow, not possessed of any knowledge 
of the country. Before taking leave of Buckley, I may be allowed 
to observe that all writers on this to-be-a-great empire have lost 
sight of this man, who laid the foundation stone (if it may be con- 
sidered so) of this interesting colony. Buckley built chimneys of 
bricks imported from Van Diemen's Land, for Mr. Batman. 
This I consider constituted the foundation of the capital of 
Victoria, which seems to have been entirely lost sight of, but 
nevertheless is true. A staff of Government surveyors had 
arrived previous to our arrival with the cattle, and I believe 
Captain Lonsdale was commandant, but I do not remember having 
seen Captain Lonsdale. Provisions were very high during our 
stay, and we killed a bullock, one of the best, of course, for the 
good colonists to keep Christmas in good English style. 

The next step towards settling was making a station, which 
was done. We crossed the Yarra River at the only ford we could 
find, just at the point above where Dight's Mill now stands, and 
took up the ground on the south side of the river, where Mr. 
Pinnock's house now stands, and what is known as Gardiner's 
Creek. This was the first cattle station in Australia Felix. There 
were a few wretched sheep up the Moonee Ponds, and a few about 
the settlement ; the farthest out stations were Mount Aitken and 
the Werribee. The number of sheep I suppose at that time did 
not exceed 4,000 in the whole country, the fame of which began 
to attract attention both in Van Diemen's Land and Sydney. 
Mr. Gardiner and myself purchased Mr. Hawdon's share of the 
cattle, and some six months after, Mr. Gardiner purchased mine, 
so that he became the sole owner. The station was left in charge 
of a Mr. Hitchcock ; Mr. Gardiner went to Van Diemen's Land. 
HaAvdon and myself hired a boat of about 10 tons, and took the 
stockmen back to his brother's station on the east coast of New 
South Wales. On the 1st January 1837 1 landed Mr. Hawdon in a 

50 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

small canoe opposite his brother's place, called Bergalia, and then 
proceeded with the men to the small harbour of Broulee. Some 
days after I took this boat, the Hope by name, into the Moruya 
River. This was the opening up of the navigation of that river, 
which is still continued. I shall now leave a blank in the time, 
as my overland journey to Sydney could be of no interest beyond 
the first day's journey. John Hawdon's son John, then a little 
boy, was to accompany his uncle and me to Sydney. We started 
early in the morning from Bergalia, forgetting all about the tide 
in the river, which was full tide or high water when we came to 
the bank. Mr. Hawdon said, "What is to be done; shall we go 
back?" Answer "No, we must proceed"; so we both stripped 
off our clothes for a swim. Hawdon took the lead, and when about 
the middle the horse rolled over him ; he extricated himself from 
the horse, and got hold of his head, and would have drowned 
him only for my advice. So he and the horse both struck out for 
the shore, and he landed safe, with his clothes tied behind his neck, 
of course well drenched. We had arranged that the little boy 
was to be carried over behind me on my horse. After seeing 
what had happened, I would not attempt to cross with the boy, 
but, to our great relief, one of the stockmen came down at the 
time and took the boy across. I was assured the horse I had 
was a first-rate swimmer. I was stripped, ready for the worst, 
with my shirt and all my underclothes with Hawdon's watch and 
my own all stuffed into my boots and slung round my neck ; so 
in I go. This horse had been in the habit of crossing here at low 
tide, and as soon as he found that he would have to swim he 
began to plunge up and down, reaching the ground at each plunge, 
first with his fore and then with his hind feet, and dipped 
me up to the neck. However, I kept my seat, and landed safe. 
We then set about drying our clothes and preparing for our jour- 
ney. The Moruya River was at this time the southern boundary of 
the colony of New South Wales. Mr. John Hawdon at this time 
was a squatter, and the only one between the boundary and Two- 
fold Bay. On my arrival in Sydney I found Port Phillip was 
attracting much attention, and to keep up the excitement I 
addressed a letter to the editor of the Colonist newspaper stating 
the possibility of running a post. I laid down all the stages from 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 51 

the Murrumbidgee to the settlement, with estimated distances, and 
showing how easy it was to provide hay grass then was so 
abundant almost at any point. The Governor, then Sir R. 
Bourke, took up the matter. No questions were asked ; tenders 
were issued, and taken by Hawdon after much delay. This was, 
however, an advantage ; before the post was started the line of 
road was considerably shortened from the Goulburn to Melbourne. 
I believe to this day the originator of the overland post was never 
known. About the middle of the year 1837 a perfect mauia took 
place ; the price of sheep advanced to 60s. per head. In con- 
sequence of this I was long before I could make final arrangements 
for my settling, my exchequer being too low to meet the prices. 
However, I met with another old tar and also an old colonist, 
and we entered into a partnership. I then proceeded to a station 
of his to gain information and await the arrival of my family, 
determined to take them with me at all risks. My share (my 
partner putting in an equal share) was 700 ewes at 55s., 1,925; 
25 rams, 150 ; 100 wethers for use, 100 ; supplies, drays, 
bullocks, &c., &c., 575; so that my debt to my partner 
amounted to 2,750, without interest for five years. No man 
in his senses would have undertaken to pay such a debt from 
700 ewes, which was all the producing stock when the part- 
nership terminated. Not one fraction of the debt was paid. 
I then saw my way a little better, and made an offer to my partner 
either to take the whole stock and station at a valuation made by 
myself, to take or give. My partner then sold to me, not wishing 
to have anything more to do with sheep. I had many difficulties 
to surmount with such a debt, for all was credit. However, I 
paid all in time with interest, so I may safely say I never fingered, 
one shilling I could call my own for nearly ten years, but after 
the debt was paid I found I could not save much money for a long 
time. I suppose the rigid economy was relaxed, and my family 
increased my expenses. This is quite foreign to the matter now 
intended, and I trust will be forgiven. 

On the 15th January 1838 I started from Strathallen, county 
St. Vincent, New South Wales, with 1,400 ewes, 50 rams, 200 
wethers, 2 drays, 18 bullocks ; 10 men (all prisoners of the 
Crown); 1 cart and horse, 1 saddle-horse, 2 brood mares, private 

52 Letters Jrom Victorian Pioneers. 

property; and Mr. Hawdon, and two children. In travelling I 
found the greatest hospitality from the settlers. Mr. William 
Coghill had mustered his sheep on the Murrumbidgee, to accom- 
pany me to Port Phillip about the end of the month. After 
joining Coghill's party, one of my drays broke down, which 
caused some delay; in this delay Mr. William. Bowman overtook 
us, and arrangements were entered into for the three parties 
to keep company until all were satifactorily settled in the new 
country. After leaving the last settlement on the Murrumbidgee, 
we took a route more to the eastward than my former track, 
several parties having preceded us on this route Ebden, Howey, 
and Hamilton. We crossed the Murray at the spot where Hovell 
and Hume had crossed many years before, and where a tree with 
the name of Hume still stood to mark the spot. We now were 
out of all reach of stations, Ebden's cattle station being the last. 
At this point we overtook Mr. W. Hamilton, who had been eight 
days crossing his sheep, and had suffered some small loss. Mr. 
Bowman had about 5,000 sheep, Mr. Coghill 2,000, making, with 
my lot, in all near 9,000 ; from our arrangements we crossed the 
whole of the sheep in 2g hours without the loss of a single sheep; 
we followed the track of those before us; which was not difficult, 
and in a short distance came on to the Major's line, which was 
easily recognised at this time. My men, who had the lead of 
the party, refused to keep the advance, thinking their labours 
were more than the others' ; but they were soon taught a lesson 
which they never forgot, and they behaved well for the re- 
mainder of the journey. We reached the Goulburn, surveying 
all the fine-looking country, and saw many beautiful spots 
very beautiful spots between the Ovens and the Goulburn ; but I 
was anxious to avoid what was likely to become a general road, 
and to get within 100 miles of the settlement and no large river 
between. At the Goulburn we met a large party of natives. 
Mr. David Coghill and myself, being in advance, came suddenly on 
them ; in an instant about 100 spears were pointed towards us. 
We halted to consider what to do ; we got boldly off our horses, 
took our guns in one hand and a bush in the other, and advanced 
slowly towards them ; the women and children fled, but the men 
stood their ground. After a short parley, in which not a word 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 53 

was understood on either side, the natives began to lay down their 
spears, and approached us without fear, put their hands on us, and 
felt the horses' skins. After spending about an hour amongst 
them, my cart, with Mrs. H., hove in sight. The day being far 
advanced, I determined to encamp on a favourable spot for that 
purpose. Shortly after, my sheep appeared ; the men my shep- 
herds were dreadfully alarmed at first ; but this soon wore off. I 
had nets for my sheep, set them up, and pitched our tent, &c. I 
sent a man back to inform Bowman that we were come to an 
anchor for the night. In the evening I heard a strange noise of 
birds, which proved to be a large flock of white parrots, a bird I 
had not seen before on my former journey. Having my gun in 
my hand, I fired both barrels, and by good chance shot two. This 
occurrence gave alarm to my sable brethren. All disappeared, but 
only for a short time. They appeared in much larger numbers 
than we had seen before ; they examined the guns with great 
curiosity, and wanted to see me fire again, which I declined. How- 
ever, Mr. Bowman gratified them. Next morning, March 2nd 1838, 
we crossed the river, all safe, without any molestation from the 
natives. Here we overtook Mr. John Harrison and Mr. Hamilton, 
who had pushed on to get the choice of the country. We assisted 
these gentlemen to cross their sheep. Hamilton advanced, and 
we took a day's rest on this beautiful spot. Before advancing any 
further I may now state Avhat country was taken up, and by whom. 
The station-holders were A. Mollison, C. H. Ebden, Capt. 
Brown, Harrison, Coghill, Bowman, and myself. No other 
sheep herds crossed the Goulburn up to the above date. A. 
Mollison after crossing the Goulburn kept the Major's line, 
and took up the Colibau, afterwards sold to Mr. Orr. Mr. 
Ebden took up the Sugarloaf Creek, but abandoned that part 
of the country and took up Carlsruhe. Howey, about the same 
time, took up his run on the east side of the mountain now 
Riddell and Hamilton's and the township of Gisborne. This 
station was the first connecting the runs taken up by the V. D. 
Land settlers. Capt. Brown took up the spot described in my 
former journal, 1 now Dr. Baynton's station, and Mr. William 
Hamilton took up the Sugarloaf Creek, left by Mr. Ebden. 
About this time, or shortly afterwards, an old military officer named 

1 The journal of his first trip to Port Phillip. See p. 48. ED. 

54 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

White took up the adjoining country. Coghill and myself started 
with Bowman, who took up the north side of Mt. Byng now 
Alexander of far fame, kept it a short time, and sold the stock to 
Umphelby, who sold to Orr, in whose possession it now is. Cog- 
hill's and my own stock we left on the Campaspe plains, and we 
advanced to look for country suitable for our purpose, which we 
found. I took up Smeaton Hill on the loth of April 1838, having 
just been three months travelling. About ten days after, the Coghills 
took up their stations, Glendaruel and Glendonald ; Harrison, who 
was too wise to be advised by me, came nearer the settlement, and 
took up a country I am not acquainted with, viz., the Plenty. 
After being some months on our respective stations that is Coghill 
and myself we found to the south of us the country about Bunin- 
yong taken up by Learmonth ; the Leigh River by Yuille. Between 
the last-mentioned parties, Anderson took up a station, thus crowding 
the stations so close that in a short time they found out their mis- 
take. The same year Pettett and Francis took up Bowling Forest, 
which would have been my run only for my ignorance, thinking 
it too rich for sheep. Messrs. Irvine and Birch made their 
appearance, and sat down between Smeaton and Glendonald, and 
called the station Seven Hills. In 1839 the early part of this 
year Mr. W. Kirk took up the run outside me, but abandoned it, 
and took up a large run west of Mt. Cole, afterwards Ross and 
McGill's. Then came Capt. McLachlan and D. Cameron, who 
both sat down on Smeaton. McLachlan, after much persuasion, 
took up the ground left by Kirk, and D. Cameron that left by 
Irvine, now known as Clunes. About this time, Simson, Button, 
and Barlot took up the Loddon ; then Bowerman took up the 
ground where Robertson and Skene's is, and all about Burnbank; 
in the meatime Learmonth extended his run in a direct line, pur- 
chased Bowerman's stock, and connected the whole line of country 
from Buninyong to Burnbank about 30 miles. He afterwards 
sold part to Br. Griffin and Elms. After this there were many 
subdivisions and parties surrounding, which did not come within 
my knowledge. I think in 1839 John Hawdon took up Mt. 
Greenock, afterwards sold to McCallum's party. L. Mackinnon 
took up the Loddon above Simson's (now W. Hunter's). Chirn- 
side took up first Muckleford, then the Beep Creek, afterwards 
Mackinnon's, and then Buckuall's. Another subdivision of the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 55 

Loddon run was to C. Mackinnon, now Joyce's. Next adjoining 
Seven Hills a station was taken up by Lyon Campbell, named 
Bullarook. About tliis time, I suppose in 1840, Jim Crow was 
taken up by Mr. Mollison, and all tbe available country between 
that and the Coliban. The Boughyards and Strathloddon were 
sold to Campbell and McKnight, then to D. Cameron of Clunes, 
then to Capt. McLachlan, then to William Campbell, and a portion 
to A. Kennedy. Forest, Barker, and Fryer's Creeks have all got 
their names since those days. I may here state, on my first visit to 
Castlemaine I was surprised to find the Church of England placed 
on or about the very spot that I had pitched my tent on, on the 12th 
of April 1838, then in all its virgin beauty. I may be here 
allowed to make another digression from my story, which, by-the- 
by, is nearly spun out. On getting fairly settled, I wrote a long 
rigmarole account of all my journeys through these ranges to an 
old friend of mine who was a gold-refiner. (The reason of my 
travelling through those ranges was that I was compelled to 
divide my party and leave some ewes on the Campaspe plains, 
they having commenced lambing.) John Betts of Birmingham, 
says, in answer to my description of the country : "John, look 
closely into all the streams ; dig, and wash the earth ; search dili- 
gently for gold, for I am sure your feet are passing over immense 
wealth every day.*' How true the prediction of my old friend ! 
I believe this my letter might be had if thought worth while ; it 
was like all my writing, badly written, and John Betts sent it to 
another old friend of mine, Rhodes and Son, Minories, London, to 
be corrected, and a clean copy written, which I believe was done, 
but whether in possession of Rhodes or Betts I do not know. On 
the brink of a waterhole at the junction of the creeks known as 
Barker's and Forest Creeks I buried the skull of a prisoner of 
the Crown, who was murdered by his mates after absconding from 
the service of Mr. Ebden. It was dug up by the natives twice, 
and the third time I buried it in the dry deposit in the waterhole, 
which was dry at the time, but on my next visit full, from a 
thunderstorm. If I had been unfortunate enough to have found 
gold then, I should most certainly have never acquired my present 
position, but I was not to be the Hargraves. 

With respect to the natives I can say but little, having had 
little intercourse with them. It will perhaps be necessary here to 

56 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

relate what took place with myself, to show that a hostile feeling 
did exist, although much blame might be attached to my men, 
who paid smartly for their impudence. One lot of sheep was 
left at the Campaspe and another at the Loddon ; three men 
having been left at each place, well armed for defence; and 
three men of Coghill's having been left at the Campaspe for 
the same reason, viz., that the ewes were lambing. After taking 
possession of Smeaton as before stated, I had to go between 
the three parties. I have not got dates for these perambula- 
tions. I left Smeaton for the Loddon ; passed the night with the 
men ; gave directions for their removal to a point where I should 
direct the others to join them. There was a man of the name of 
Knight, who was one of Bowman's party, a veteran ; he had at 
this time been several days amongst the natives perhaps weeks ; 
he pretended he had lost himself. I took him back with me to 
Bowman's station, and there left him. I arrived at the Campaspe 
plains at night after dark ; found all right. In the morning I ear- 
marked all my lambs, mixed them with Coghill's, and started them 
for the Loddon, giving them their regular stages, and they were to 
be six days, in order not to hurry the sheep. I wanted to see some- 
thing of the country. Went that day to Mollison's Station, and 
started the next morning for the Loddon. I first took a S.E. direc- 
tion to the top of a hill about seven miles off, for the sake of having 
a view of the country through which I had to pass, and went regu- 
larly from one hill to another, Jim Crow being the last. I had 
then an open country to the spot where I directed the men to 
halt. It was after sundown when I got down. I saw the sheep and 
lambs, as I thought, all right ; I cooeyed loudly, but there was no 
answer. This was only the third day from the time I left them. 
I then fired a shot. No answer. I had purchased two dogs on my 
journey being kangaroo dogs. I coupled them with a strap, and 
tied them to a tree, for fear of their disturbing the sheep. I was 
very much troubled in my mind about the men one of them being 
a very bad character ; all I thought of was that the two had mur- 
dered the man in charge, and made off with the cart and horse. I 
walked round the sheep all night ; heard the howl now and again 
of native dogs, but not near. As soon as day appeared I started off 
to the old camp, and found the fire had been out some time. I then 
returned to my charge. Seeing them all right, I thought I would 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 57 

make a circle, and try to discover what direction they had gone 
with the cart; but the country being so dry and hard, not a track was 
to be seen. I kept the sheep all this day, and in strolling about, I 
found part of the sheep-nets and a dead sheep. I took a good 
sleep during the day, and mounted guard at night. The dogs 
got a good feed off the dead sheep, but there was nothing for me. 
I began to feel a little hungry ; but, as the sailor says, I took in a 
reef by tying my neckerchief round my body. Next day, about 
sunrise, I began to think of driving the sheep to Smeaton, and had 
just rounded them up when I heard a cooey. This rather alarmed 
me. I put the saddle on my horse ; took the cap off my rifle ; saw 
the powder up and all right. I rode off in the direction I heard 
the cooey. Coming towards a bed of reeds on the river bank 
knowing the men were alarmed, and having, I must confess, little 
confidence, I was not inclined to put myself in their power. I made 
a stop, and then cooeyed, which was immediately answered, and I 
saw a man crawling out from amongst the reeds. I made straight 
for him, and saw, to my great surprise, one of Mr. Coghill's men. 
He exclaimed, " Good God, sir, I am glad to see you alive." I said, 
" What's the matter, William?" " Oh, sir, murder ! murder !" This 
confirmed my opinion. I said, "Who is murdered?" and he 
answered, "Lee." This was still a further confirmation of my own 
idea, for I thought Williams or Trayner had murdered Lee and made 
off. I got quite impatient at the old man's slow answers. At last 
I said, "Who has murdered Lee?" He then replied, "The blacks." 
This of course altered all my ideas. It appeared, when the three men 
had arranged to remove from the first camp, two were to take the 
sheep ; the other, the cart with the traps. The sheep started, and 
after travelling a short distance, the two men with the sheep were 
attacked, and fled to the cart for their arms ; but they soon found 
the cart was captured, and poor Lee dreadfully wounded, and left, 
no doubt, for dead. Williams fled first, without injury ; Trayner 
got a slight wound in the shoulder with a spear ; but Lee was 
dreadfully mangled ; he had on his body fifteen wounds, and three 
severe ones on the head. While I stood talking to William Free- 
man, I saw the reeds moving, and something in the shape of a man 
moving. I lifted my rifle, but heard a voice, " For God's sake, sir, 
don't shoot me." To my great surprise, this was the man Knight. 

58 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

On being asked how he came there, he said he was lost. Only three 
days before, I left him at Bowman's camp. In about two hours 
the cart with the sheep and men all made their appearance. All 
the weakly lambs had been killed, and forced marches made. 
After meeting the cart, which had gone back, I purposed going 
home with the cart and Lee, who was very near dead, but all ex- 
claimed, if I took the cart away, with a man (Cook) to drive, they 
would all leave the sheep and follow. Finding this would not do, I 
got some hot water, bathed the wounds, got a piece of bread, and 
started home alone, giving directions how to come through the 
ranges, and I would meet them next day. After all the delays, it 
was very late when I arrived at Smeaton. I said nothing to Mrs. 
H., but got a little lint and dressing for the wounds, and started 
late, thinking the party would advance. I rode over range after 
range, and gully after gully, but there was no appearance of the 
sheep or party until I arrived at the spot where I left them. I felt 
a little vexed at the men for not starting, but they declared that as 
soon as I left them the natives made their appearance, and they were 
so paralyzed at the sight they dared not move, and also they said 
they heard cries as if of murdering some one, which appeared to be 
nothing but imagination. I got the wounds on Lee's body and head 
(which was the worst) dressed ; he kept in good spirits after my 
arrival ; he thought I was murdered, which had troubled him much. 
In the night they all kept up, and kept firing their muskets at the 

I am now drawing to a period which will perhaps throw some 
light on this mysterious fellow, Knight. He kept in the camp all 
night with my men, but after starting the party in marching 
order, this man disappeared, and took with him a young dog, which 
was given him to carry. All the men got so alarmed that I 
was compelled to threaten to shoot the first man who flinched from 
the position given him. I closed the order of marching, so that I 
had all within my own view. I made a search for Knight, but could 
not see either him or any of the natives. I learnt many months 
afterwards from a black boy that Knight was killed that very 
night by the blacks, and buried on a hill which I have designated 
Knight's Fall, known now by the name of Yandoit. I have no 
doubt of the truth of the murder, as the boy's story of the dog 

Letters from Victorian Pioiieers. 59 

showed that the boy knew something of the matter ; anil since 
I have had further testimony of the fact. I have no doubt in my 
own mind that this man was at the bottom of all the mischief, but 
at the same time he did me much service by making the natives 
believe that I should kill them all ; for, from that day to the pre- 
sent all the natives give me a wide berth, at least when met in 
the bush. I am happy to be able to say I never injured one 
beyond thumping him with a stick. This was after they were 
protected, and he well merited the correction. 

Some few months after this several parties of natives made 
their appearance, but always disappeared when I showed my face. 
On one occasion I heard two shots fired. I went to see what was 
the matter. The shepherds saw several blacks on a plain not far off. 
I went in the direction, and saw a number of men all running off as 
fast as possible. I pursued, and overtook two men and a woman. 
The men both took safe positions behind a tree, and balanced 
their spears. I got off my horse ; laid my gun down ; showed 
them my bare hands. After a short time the oldest man came out 
on to open ground, using his spear as a staff ; the other kept his 
safe post. The old man began to talk at a great rate, and fre- 
quently pointed to the Loddon, of course relating all that had 
transpired there, which I could not understand. The old man per- 
spired so, the perspiration dropped from his nose profusely. I left 
them and returned home. In less than an hour two shots were 
again fired. The horse being ready, I started off to the shepherds,, 
but could not find them. The two flocks were mixed, and I saw 
one sheep lying on the ground. I rode up, and found a fine ewe 
with a long spear driven right through her. I pulled it out ; she 
got up, but soon died. The shepherds all this time were watching 
my movements, and after a short time made their appearance, and 
took the sheep homeward. We saw nothing of the natives. The 
men said they never saw them even when the sheep was speared 
although within a short distance. No moreAvas heard of the natives 
for some months. The spear was newly scraped, no doubt for the 
purpose for which it was used. The next party that made their 
appearance were much bolder, and insisted on camping alongside 
of my folds. These were evidently natives from another quarter ; 
they had a few iron hatchets, and began to strip the bark off the 

GO Letters from, Victorian Pioneers. 

trees and build their mia-mias. I took the trouble of carrying 
some of the bark to a distance, but this would not do. I then 
ordered them to remove; but no, all efforts were in vain. They 
had a dog, which they tied up by the fore paw to the neck, show- 
ing they knew what sheep were. I had my double-barrelled 
gun and two useless double-barrelled pistols. I discharged all 
the four barrels, and they could see nothing, and did not know 
from whence they were taken. I shortly after this left them, but 
intended watching their movements. I returned in an hour ; found 
all the fires out and the whole of the natives gone ; saw nothing 
more of them. In the latter part of this year, 1838 say November, 
for I only write from memory I was sheep-washing ; had always 
carried either a double-barrelled gun or rifle; but this being the 
first day of washing, I did not take my gun. In returning home in 
the afternoon late, I saw the blacks had set fire to the grass closer 
to my home-station than I liked. I began to fear something serious 
had happened. On approach I saw one of the shepherds crouching 
behind a tree. I rode up and asked where the sheep were. His 
reply was, " The blacks had taken them." I asked which way 
they had gone ; he pointed to the east. I made for the hut as 
quick as I could. The double-barrelled gun was loaded before I left ; 
the rifle lying in the case out of the stock, but loaded and capped. 
Mrs. H. was in great fear, but had not given way until she saw 
me. I took both guns, and off I went. A man of the name of 
George Cook, a prisoner of the Crown, who was hut-keeper, had 
left his hut and come to Mrs. H.'s assistance ; he now followed me 
on foot as fast as he could. The grass being long, I got on to the 
tracks of the sheep, and presently saw them, with four men 
hustling them along ; but, the weather being hot, they did not 
make much progress. They kept at the sheep, expecting to get 
them into the timber; but I was too quickly on them, and they ran 
for the timber themselves, but made no resistance. I headed the 
sheep homeward, and met Cook, quite out of breath ; the poor 
fellow could not speak for some minutes ; he brought the sheep 
back, and then the cowardly shepherd made his appearance. 
When sundown came I found another shepherd did not come 
home. He also left the sheep, but not one was lost ; he did not 
return to the station till morning, being lost in the bush all night. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. Cl 

Now for Mrs. H.'s story. About noon, about 30 men mustered 
round the hut ; they had a musket, and wanted powder. Mrs. H. 
sent one of the children for old Cook, who shut his hut door 
and answered the summons ; he loaded all the muskets and car- 
bines, placed them all in the hut, and covered them up, deter- 
mined to defend, if required. While Cook was thus employed Mrs. 
Hepbiirn took them some tobacco ; but this weed was not known 
to them at this time, for they threw it all away. She then gave 
them some flour. Old Cook, being an old poacher, knew well the 
use of firearms, and boldened by their peaceable, friendly appear- 
ance at the time, although suspicious of them, asked to look at 
the musket they had, opened the pan, and unperceived drew the 
point of his thumb across the pan, which act cleaned the priming 
clean out, Avhich saved his life, for shortly after this act the same 
black laid the musket on the top of a round post about 30 yards 
distant, took a deliberate aim, and snapped the musket at Cook. 
Cook perceiving his danger, rushed into the hut ; Mrs. H. made 
her appearance at the door with a brace of pistols. The natives 
then fled. Cook fired a ball over their heads, and it was in their 
retreat they took the sheep ; but they made a clean sweep of the 
men's blankets, &c. This was the only time any attack was made 
on the hut ; there were several other times I turned out the men 
to drive them off the run. The number of sheep lost never ex- 
ceeded ten on any occasion, and all the depredations were by 
natives belonging to other districts, which I learnt in the course 
of time. A friendly intercourse was first made in a very extra- 
ordinary way. I was from home, and the women visited the 
station. Mrs. H. treated them well, and shortly after this about 
seven or eight of the women belonging to the tribe that claimed 
Smeaton as their beat, or, as they called it, Koorootyugh, came to 
the station. They had left all their usual traps, and fled to the 
huts for shelter ; nothing could drive them away; but no force 
was used for that purpose ; they stopped about six or eight days^ 
and after this we had many visits from them ; but finding the 
men making too free with them, I gave them very little en- 
couragement. So after all my residence amongst the natives I 
never learnt a word of their lingo. Nearly the whole of the tribe 
belonging to this district is dead. I only know of one in existence 

62 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

that was born ou my station, and he is about fourteen years of age, 
but looks quite a man in his prime. I do not now know of a woman 
that waa on the station twelve years ago ; if there be any at the 
protectorate, the fact is not known to me. I do not believe I have 
seen a native black or party of blacks for these last four years that 
stayed a night on my run. I believe Mr. Robinson and Mr. Parker 
made their first appearance here in 1840, but I have no date 
perhaps 1841. Their object was to form a station. I strongly 
recommended them to take up Jim Crow, now Mount Franklin, 
for an aboriginal station; but this did not meet the views of the 
above-named gents, and of course it was not done at that time, 
although it was afterwards. For a time the natives appeared to 
improve much under the management of Mr. Parker ; but of late 
years the number has been limited, and principally children have 
been kept. Some of the young men have turned out very well as 
bullock-drivers on the station, and made themselves useful other- 
wise. All I can say about the natives only shows I know nothing 
about them, or at least very little. Some of my southern neigh- 
bours could tell better tales of them ; but it will be seen that I 
have not cultivated their acquaintance much. 

With respect to the country generally,! know a few miles round. 
I shall commence at the River Loddon, and come southward. On 
the Upper Loddon, about G-lenlyon and Holcombe, there is some 
good land, but most of it heavily timbered. The whole of the Upper 
Loddon is volcanic, and where the earth has a reddish or chocolate 
colour, it is generally very good ; but in this district it is so in small 
patches only. There is plenty of fine slabs of slate between Hol- 
combe and Kennedy's station, with patches of good land the whole 
way down, but not to any extent. About Kennedy's and down to 
Hunter's there are fine flats of considerable extent. On the 
Government reserve for the aborigines there is also some good 
ground, with a great deal of bad, much of Avhich will be at no dis- 
tant period trenched for gold. At Joyce Brothers', Bucknall's, 
and McLachlan's, there is but little that would be considered good 
land, although the flats on the creeks have produced crops of 
wheat much heavier than I could on much better land. On my 
run there is much good land to appearance, but the crop is below 
the average of my neighbours, which I can only attribute to the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. G3 

want of proper drainage, the land being very wet in winter. To 
get a good crop, wheat ought to be put in in the month of March 
or April, in order that the wheat may be well rooted before the 
wet weather sets in, which is generally about the latter end of 

The summer frost is also a great drawback, particularly for 
horticulture. Gooseberries, currants, cherries, and raspberries do 
well ; vines not at all. At only 20 miles to the north, vines 
grow well, and produce good crops. The land on my run is very 
prepossessing in appearance, but in many places there is only a 
shallow soil, which lies on a bed of lava, which dries up early in 
the season; but this is not the case all over it. There is some very 
fine land. The Seven Hills is much the same, but all the best 
land on that station is heavily timbered. At Glendouald there is 
little good land, but it might be much improved. Clunes and 
McCallum's perhaps have less good land than any other runs 01 
the same magnitude in this part of the country. Glendaruel, 
Coghill's, and Bowling Forest, with Wynholm, have perhaps more 
prime land than any country of double the extent in this part of 
the country. On the Leigh River there are many good spots, and 
through towards Burrumbeet and Burnbank, not to the township 
(which is poor), but as far as Robertson and Skene's, there is some 
beautiful country. To the south-east of Ballan and much of the 
Pentland Hills is a first-rate country for wheat or other grain. The 
average crop of wheat grown at Smeaton for twelve years does not 
exceed 20 bushels per acre. At Bowling Forest and Glendaruel, 
about 30 has been the average to the best of my knowledge. My 
information is very limited, and having no general knowledge of 
the qualities of land, it must therefore be taken for what it is worth. 
Nearly all this memo, is written from memory. Before closing, I 
should state the result of my experience amongst prisoners of the 
Crown under the old system, more particularly those under my 
own charge in this part of the country. I brought from Sydney, 
Francis Smith, Isaac Howe, William Butson, George Lee, George 
Carmichael, George Cook all six men, well-behaved and useful ; 
these men were paid 30 per annum while in my service ; they 
were the assigned servants of John Coghill; they are all in exist- 
ence, and have done well. Edward Trayner and Bartholomew 

64 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Williams were both bad men and petty thieves ; Dennis Walker and 
Joseph Woodford, two boys, turned out middling, but were trouble- 
some while in my service. I forgot to state that Lee had after 
his conflict with the natives to be sent to Melbourne for surgical 
assistance, and had a piece of a spear nine inches long cut out of 
his back by Dr. Cussen. One word more in favour of old hands. 
On our first expedition in 1836, Mr. John Gardiner had a 
man named Doggatty, a prisoner of the Crown from V. D. 
Land, brought to Sydney by permission of Governor Arthur. 
That man has been in my service for these last ten years, has 
a family, and is a well-doing man. I do not make these state- 
ments as an advocate for prisoners, for I am not ; but it only 
shows that prisoners are sometimes painted in worse colours than 
they deserve. I may also add that I have had many other old 
prisoners in my service, and have in general found them very good 
servants the Pentonvilles being the worst without exception. 
English training avails little in this country. I trust I shall not 
be considered partial or egotistic in these memoranda, for I can 
only state what I know myself, and what I have learnt from 
others, to a very limited extent. The first Commissioner of Crown 
Lands for this district was Peter Snodgrass, Esquire, now M.L.C.; 
the next, H. F. Graham, Esquire ; then Foster Fyans, Esquire ; 
after him F. A. Powlett, Esquire ; the new one I have not seen. 
I have had disputes about boundaries settled by all the above 
gentlemen, and also by Mr. Grimes, and in all cases without 
favour or affection to any party or parties. So much for the offi- 
cials. It may be considered I am some place-hunter, or looking 
for some favour. This is not the case. I look for my rights as a 
British subject, and will maintain them too, so far as my know- 
ledge goes. I unfurled but one flag, and to that I will adhere, I 
trust, for the remainder of my life, however long it may be the 
pleasure of God to spare me. 

J. H. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 65 

No. 13. 


Their government is patriarchal, the head of each family 
having control over his household ; nor is he accountable to the 
community for his conduct touching them, even after his children 
come to years of discretion, if they be unmarried. They, however, 
are by no means arbitrary, nor cruel ; and with the children are 
foolishly indulgent. It is only in passion that their conduct is 
revolting, and then they are generally checked by one or more 
powerful friends arresting the angered, while others try to appease 
him by reason. Although the head of the family is not account- 
able to the community, a mother will not tamely see her child 
ill-used, and when a son is grown up, if his mother is ill-treated 
he will show fight. I have witnessed some dreadful frays between 
father and son 1 on the mother's account. Should one kill his 
wife, the friends or relatives of the woman will have satisfaction; 
when the tribes meet, the slayer must show himself naked among 
them, and unflinchingly await their anger. 

Each tribe has a chief, who directs all its movements, and 
who, wherever he may be, knows well where all the members 
of the community are. About once in three months the whole 
tribe unite, generally at new or full moon, when they have a few 
dances, and again separate into three or more bodies, as they can- 
not get food if they move en masse ; the chief, with the aged, 
makes arrangements for the route each party is to take. In their 
movements they seldom encamp more than three nights in one 
place, and oftener but one. Thus they move from one place to 
another, regardless of sickness, deaths, births, &c. They will 
not wait for anything when they have an object in view. I have 
known instances of females having an infant at night, and com- 
pelled to tramp in the morning, and the men to carry their sick 
from one encampment to another. 2 In each body are a few old 

1 Vide plate. A fine noble chief is opposed by his son, a fine j-outh about eighteen years 
of age. 

3 I have many curious anecdotes of their determination to rove when any particular subject 
is on the carpet. Not long since, in order to be present at the punishment of two aborigines 
for murder, two blacks came one on two crutches, the other blind to Melbourne from the 
North, at least 120 miles. 

66 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

men, Avho take charge of the small community, and give instruc- 
tions in the morning where they will encamp at night. They 
seldom travel more than six miles a day. In their migratory 
moves all are employed ; children in getting gum, knocking down 
birds, &c.; women in digging up roots, killing bandicouts, getting 
grubs, &c. ; the men in hunting kangaroos, &c., scaling trees for 
opossums, &c., &c. They mostly are at the encampment about an 
hour before sundown the women first, who get fire and water, 
&c., by the time their spouses arrive. 

They hold that the bush and all it contains are man's general 
property ; that private property is only what utensils are carried 
in the bag; and this general claim to nature's bounty extends 
even to the success of the day; hence at the close, those who have 
been successful divide with those who have not been so. There 
is " no complaining in the streets" of a native encampment ; none 
lacketh while others have it ; nor is the gift considered as a 
favour, but a right brought to the needy, and thrown down 
at his feet. In warm weather, while on the tramp, they seldom 
make a miam they use merely a few boughs to keep off the 
wind ; in wet weather a few sheets of bark make a comfortable 
house. In one half-hour I have seen a neat village begun and 
finished. The harmony that exists among them when none 
of another tribe is in the party is surprising. I have been 
out with them for months without a single altercation. Wher- 
ever one is born, that is considered his or her country. They 
have no regular burial places ; their bones lie scattered through 
the bush. Over the men, according to their importance, an 
oration is delivered, the purport of which is that they, his 
survivors, will avenge his death, and begging the defunct to lie 
still till they do so. Over the women and children no ceremony is 
performed. After the body is interred, the encampment breaks 
up, leaving a fire at the east of the grave. Orphans are taken 
great care of. It is considered a great honour to have an orphan 
added to the family. 

They have many ceremonies on particular occasions, such as 
when a youth or maiden comes of age, instalment of the bush, 
marriage ceremony, &c., &c. To give them in this brief account 
is impossible ; one must suffice. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 67 

Marriage. The men engross the right of giving the women 
;i\v;iy ; the women have neither choice nor will in the matter ; 
they are the property of the father ; if he is dead, of the 
brother ; if there is no brother, of the uncle. There is seldom a 
marriage without much fighting, as there is a great preponder- 
ance of males over females, and the. old chiefs' not being satisfied 
with less than two and sometimes four, increases the value of the 
women. Most females are purchased. The general price is two 
large koogrs (or opossum rugs), two or three dozen opossums, and 
other trifles. The woman is handed over to her spouse, who has 
scarce got her when some others those who were desirous to 
obtain her may be seen naked, discharging wonguims, &c., at 
the bridegroom. A general family fight takes place, and the bride- 
groom seldom gets off without a broken head. At night the dame 
is sulky, and when her spouse is asleep generally creeps to her 
mother ; and when he awakes and finds her gone, he claims her ; 
her father in a rage knocks the poor girl about Avith his bludgeon 
or tomahawk, drags her by the hair of her head 1 to her koolin, 
where she gets another drubbing. This is often continued for 
two or more days, till the poor creature is regularly broken down. 
She resigns to her fate, and generally proves a constant and affec- 
tionate wife. 

Laws. Of laws 2 they have three principal, viz., to punish 
murder, theft, and adultery. Murder is punished by the whole of 
the tribe throwing a spear and a wonguim at the murderer ; if he 
escapes without any material injury, the male who is the nearest of 
kin to the murdered may with his bludgeon or leonile strike at the 
murderer's head (no other part) till he is tired. During the punish- 
ment the murderer is not allowed to throw a single weapon, but 
may ward off the spears, &c., with his shield. I knew an instance 
of a man having 100 spears thrown at him, who warded them 
every one off. 

Theft is of rare occurrence, and is punished by blows on the 
head of the thief by the party wronged. I never knew but one 
case of this kind. 

1 Of course these scenes are not practised now in iny encampment. I merely state their 
customs as I found them. 

2 These are among their own community. 

F 2 

C8 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Adultery is a crime that keeps the encampment (when two or 
more tribes are present) in continued broils ; the adulterer and 
adulteress are both punished "-the latter awfully severe ; but the 
former having (what the poor females have not) a way of warding 
off the weapons, comes better off. 

There is one particularly amiable trait in the aboriginal char- 
acter, which is, that no animosity remains in their breasts, nor does 
any shrink from punishment. At the close of a fight or punish- 
ment, those who have inflicted the wounds may be seen sucking 
them and doing any other kind office required. 

Most tribes have intercourse or hold a kind of alliance with 
three or four neighbouring ones, with whom they barter for lubras, 
&c. They generally once a year at least unitedly assemble. 
There are many disputes, imaginary or real, to settle which cannot 
be done without some fighting. When all is settled they will 
corrobboree night after night till they separate. All the tribes 
beyond the district of their friends are termed wild blackfellows, 
and when found within the district are immediately killed. 

The blacks were formerly very superstitious. The most awful 
superstition is that they believe that man would never die unless 
he were killed ; that the sick man has been opened, and that his 
kidneys and fat have been taken out, which has caused death ; and 
that nothing short of the kidneys and fat of another will appease 
the dead. They also believe that, as the kidneys and fat are the life 
of man, the eating of the same gives double strength and vigour to 
those who partake of them ; hence they never kill a " wild black," 
as they term him, but they rob the body of that part. They also 
have another cruel custom of sacrificing the fruit of the womb 
till a male is born ; so that, should a female have three or four 
girls, all are killed until a male is born. The poor innocents are 
put out of the way by strangling or smothering, and generally on 
the ninth or twenty-first day. 

To go into the various traditions they have of the creation of 
the world, man, woman, and animals, stars, &c., is impossible 
here. Suffice it to state that they are a people that have names 
for particular stars, as the Southern Cross, Magellanic clouds, &c.; 
and their traditions are not more ridiculous than those of other 
savage nations. They have also an idea of several imaginary 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. G9 

beings, almost all of the dreaded class ; also superstitious notions 
of certain birds, native bears, and extraordinary appearances in 
the heavens. 

Dances. They have various kinds, day and night. Although a 
stranger, after seeing one, may think the whole alike and merely a 
monotony of sounds and motion, such is not the case ; the song 
and words are to the motion of the body, like our country dances 
and reels. One ignorant of dancing Avould look upon the move- 
ments as monotonous ; there is as much sense in the one as in the 
other. If the blacks' orchestra is inferior, their time and motion 
are better. 

Games. They have many, all admirably adapted to strengthen 
and expand the corporeal powers, as running, jumping, throwing, 
&c.; but the most manual is wrestling; and certainly every one who 
has ever seen them at this exercise has acknowledged that it is 
equal to any description given of the ancients, and destitute of the 
brutality often resorted to by the ancients, to gain the mastery. 
The aborigines' is sheer, fair wrestling. They challenge each 
other by throwing dust in the air towards those they desire to 
strive with, which is answered by a return ; they run towards each 
other ; on approaching, each puts his hands on his antagonist's 
shoulder, and it is not till both are nearly exhausted that one is 

I should have stated that besides chiefs they have other eminent 
men, as warriors, counsellors, doctors; dreamers, who are also inter- 
preters ; charmers, who are supposed to be able to bring and drive 
rain away ; also to bring or send plagues among other nations, and 
to drive away the same, as occasion requires. Although they have 
chiefs, doctors, counsellors, warriors, dreamers, &c., who form a 
kind of aristocracy, yet these are in no way a burthen to the com- 
munity. The chiefs govern, doctors cure, counsellors advise, and 
warriors fight, without pay. All alike seek their food, and He who 
is mindful of the ravens is not unmindful of these sable sons of 

Their war implements are : (1.) The Wouguim, thrown in 
battle and useful in the bush to knock down birds. (2.) Kurruk or 
throwing-stick, with which a reed spear is hurled out with great 
force. (3.) WorraWorra, a common club used in single combat. (4.) 
Leonile, the most dreadful hand weapon, used in single combat only. 

70 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

(5.) Kudgerin, a thick club very weighty at the end, used in close 
combat only. (6.) Mulga, a shield used in single combat only, to 
defend the head from the hand-clubs 3, 4, and 5. (7.) Geam, a large 
shield used to ward off long spears. (8.) Tirrer, a reed spear 
used for distant objects. 1 (9.) Tare, a long spear pointed at the 
end, used for distant combat. 2 (10.) Nandum, a jagged spear a 
dreadful weapon. 3 (11.) Mongile, a double glass-jagged spear, 
the most fatal of their weapons. 4 (12.) Wa-voit, mostly used in 
play ; it is thrown by the hand ; the knob end bounds on the hard 
ground a considerable distance as a stone would do when thrown 
on ice. He whose wa-voit is the greatest distance is considered 
victor. 5 


Billbolary 6 (Bil-li-bel-la-ry) was chief of the Yarra 7 tribe ; he 
stands foremost, and justly so, as ever having been the white man's 
friend generous, frank, and determined as he was. Having 
received intimation that Government was desirous of forming 
a native police, I consulted this chief who had often protected 
my life. I remember well the day I and Captain Dana, 
on a huge gum log, on the 17th February 1842 made known to 
Billibellary the Government's intention, and to further it stated 
that his influence was applied to first. He begged seven 
days to think. Night after night did this faithful chief address 
the encampment. True to the day, on the 24th he had the 
company together, leading the train. After stating the duties, 
he signed his name first, not, however, before saying, " I am 
king ; I no ride on horseback ; I no go out of my country ; young 
men go as you say, not me." Through his influence the native 
police was first formed. This good man used often, after the first 
fortnight, to appeal to me, on being ordered to march up and down 
for two hours ; nothing like command would do for him. I at 

'-* These spears are from 8 to 10 feet long. 

* The form of these weapons is shown in plate II. ED. 

6 In this description of the Native Police, where two forms of a name are given, the 
second is, according to Mr. Thomas, the correct one. The first is the form of the name 
under which the aboriginal was enrolled in the Native Police. See note p. 76. ED. 

7 However musical this word sounds, and however it has taken its stand for the river, 
such is not the river's name. Ynrra means hair or nap, man or animal ; thus Yarra Knwan, 
hair of the head ; Yarra Ifunduk, hair of the chin, beard. Surveyors' names, of all others, 
are most ridiculous, except those of Mr. Smyth of Western Port. 



Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 71 

length brought Captain Dana to consent that he be permitted to 
'be on duty when he pleased; regimentals, gun, &c., were at his 
disposal. Generally an hour before sundown the chief would 
dress himself, and take it into his head to march to and fro from 
his lubra's miam to my tent which invariably was adjacent. 

This good man died on the 10th of August 1846. After 
preserving the lives of the first settlers checking in the bud any 
jealousy or revenge in the precincts of Melbourne towards the 
whites he was engaged with the Mount Macedon tribe in trans- 
ferring the land to Batman, Simpson, Swanston, and others. 
Fostering all missionary and other exertions to better his race, 
he lamented much the deterioration of his people ; he lived to 
see them become drunkards, and refractory to their own laws ; 
he was the last chief who was recognised as having any power. 
On his demise, missions, schools, and police began to totter, and 
were subsequently kept up, I may say, through pressing from 
distant tribes. 

Buckup (Bug-gup). A fine intelligent young man. After two 
expeditions he was made a corporal, and received pay ; he continued 
in the police till his death ; had been on much arduous duty ; from 
the effect of one very long day's ride, somehow his ankle was hurt 
by the stirrup-iron, which was not considered of any consequence ; 
however, after some months, it so affected his leg, then his thigh, 
that to save his life, amputation above the knee was required, which 
he consented to. He was one of the first in the colony who 
underwent an operation under the influence of ether, and did well; 
the operation was performed by Drs. Hobson, Thomas, and 
Barker ; he lived a year after the operation, making himself 
useful at the police quarters till his death on the 2nd September 
1848, after nearly six years' service. 

Boro Boro (Bur-bor-rougK). This black remained but a few 
months in the service ; his habits and disposition were too restless 
for restraint, and too immoral to be kept in subjection ; he latterly 
was a notorious drunkard ; and on the last meeting of the tribes 
was killed (while drunk) on Richmond swamp, and shoved into a 
rut, 29th May 1852. 

Benboo. This harmless man, like Billibellary, was but a short 
time in the service ; in fact, was not by nature or disposition 
adapted for the police ; he, however, to the time of his death was 

72 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

seldom seen out of uniform, which was generally that of a com- 
missariat in full dress, except the cocked hat. Mr. Erskine used 
invariably to give him his left-off uniform, and Benboo never 
shrunk when he wanted uniform from asking for it. This good 
and inoffensive chief died on his way to Moody Yalloak, at Little 
Brighton, on the 5th July 1852 ; his few subjects were drunk 
for three days previous, and neglected their king. 

Berring. This young black, who continued in the service for 
some time, was in two journeys ; he subsequently went to the 
Devil's River, and has not been heard of since. 

Cnlpendurra (Kul-pen-dure). This fine young man was son 
of Billibellary, but widely different in disposition and character. 
I think he went but two journeys ; he was an awfully dissipated 
character after his father's death, and was eventually killed at the 
Goulburn in a drunken fray with the Goulburn blacks. 

Curra Curra (Kur-rek-Kur-reK). Remained but a few months 
in the" police. Afterwards he was continually going to and fro to 
Gippsland, where he died some time in 1848. 

Coonerdigum. I cannot recollect or find in my papers a name 
in the least like this ; those enrolled on 24th of February 1842, 
were all correct. I wrote their names down. 

Gellibrand. Was a faithful black, much respected by the 
whites, especially the gentry; he took his name from the unfortu- 
nate gentleman who was lost with Hesse ; his real name was 
Beruke (a kangaroo-rat). It is said that while he was being brought 
into the world a kangaroo-rat ran over his mother. The natives 
invariably consider such occurrences as omens for something, and 
he was named after the animal. He was one who accompanied the 
whites in search of Gellibrand. He remained in the police till 
his death, which was premature. Having come with the Govern- 
ment dray from Narre Warren for the month's provisions, he 
drank to such excess (as reported to me by the blacks) at the 
Club-house, that he died on his way back with the dray, and 
was buried near South Yarra pound. He had been on duty in 
all parts of the colony, was a corporal, and had received pay for 

Giberuke. This was a noble-looking black, but sullen, and 
in no way to be depended upon ; he soon left the service, after 
his first orders to accompany Mr. Commissioner Powlett to Mount 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 73 

Macedon ; he went subsequently to the Goulburn, and, for aught 
I know, is still alive. 

Murrumbean (Mur-rum-Mur-mm-beari). A fine powerful 
black, next to Billibellary of the greatest influence over the Yarra 
blacks. He, however, soon left the police. As they assured me 
afterwards, they only joined to set the example ; he died on the 
IGth October 1849. He was never addicted to drink, and endeav- 
oured, with his cousin Billibellary, to stop this growing vice. Many 
and many times have the young men's heads been split by these 
two worthy men ; that is, those who came in drunk over-night to 
the encampment ; but all to no avail. The vile whites made others 
drunk daily. Had this man and Billibellary the power such 
was their determination they would have summarily dealt with 
the case, and have taken a band with waddy and spears, and 
have discharged the contents of every spirit cask in Melbourne, 
and have felt no repugnance (if opposed) in shedding blood to 
accomplish their object, for with aborigines murder is no crime 
when for the public good. 

Moonee Moonee. This was a fine young man, who was sent 
two important journeys, and died in the service while at the 
Wimmera in August 1845. 

Nangollibill (Ning-goolobin), alias John Bull. A fine power- 
ful black ; but no sooner were the police ordered upon distant 
duty than he and several others deserted. He being a man of 
importance, Captain Dana was awfully prejudiced against him, 
which prejudice on the Captain's part had nearly been fatal to 
the life of Ning-goolobin, insomuch that the second in command 
(for giving evidence which I compelled him to give) of the native 
police ever afterwards was under the displeasure of his superior. 
Ning-goolobin was afterwards tried for the murder of Booby, an 
aboriginal from the present Colonial Secretary's station. I was 
so convinced of his innocence, having daily intercourse with him 
at the time, that in spite of official opposition, which was truly 
unpleasant, I persevered in order to prove such, and at length, 
after four months, from circumstantial evidence brought forward, 
the jury (in spite of direct evidence 1 ), after a tedious trial, 
which lasted till eight o'clock at night, acquitted him. 

1 There is no mistake in the matter ; the two men who accompanied the dray out were 
drunk, and that beastly so, but swore most distinctly that he was the man. 

74 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Nunuptune. Remained but a few months in the force. He was 
a good-tempered fellow, but as restless as a hyena in confinement. 
He subsequently was (unjustly) accused of taking Mr. Willoby's 
child at Western Port, which so frightened him, that for years he 
scarce rambled further than along the coast from Mount Eliza to 
Point Nepean. He died near Mount Eliza llth of August 1849. 

Nerimbineek (Ner-rim-bin-ufi), brother to the unfortunate 
Windberry (shot by Major Lettsom's party) ; he continued in 
the force for a considerable time ; getting tired of it, he left, and 
for some years rambled along the Goulburn to the Devil's River 
and Moogolumbuk tribes. Like his unfortunate brother, by family 
connexion he seems to pass safely through different remote tribes. 
He is still alive, and left some months back our encampment by 
the ranges for Bacchus Marsh ; he is a terrible drunkard. 

Peripe (Pee-rup}. There have been two of this name in the 
police. The one who was in the force in 1843 continued in it till 
1847. After leaving it, he was scarce in his district for a month's 
continuance, going to and fro with others purchasing or stealing 
Gippsland lubras ; he was subsequently, with two others, killed 
there in May 1850 on the Mitchell River through the treachery 
of a knowing Gippsland black named Tyers. 

Perpine (better known as McNoel). An active, shrewd, able, 
and intelligent policeman; for two years highly serviceable. He 
had the boldness to be the first to fire at a white man, when 
with Commissioner Gisborne's police up the Yarra. On leaving 
the police, he, like most others, became a notorious drunkard, 
and was dangerous when so. In a drunken fray with two of his 
own tribe he received a spear wound, from which he died four 
days afterwards (on 2nd May 1850) at the encampment between 
the Merri and Darebin Creeks. 

Polligary (Polligerry). An able-bodied black, intelligent, and 
to be fully depended upon. He went through a routine of service 
for Government, being selected for most of their important 
journeys. On leaving the force, he accompanied Mr. Bunce and 
others in an expedition, I think, in quest of the lost Dr. 
Leichhardt ; he is still living. In Bunce's correspondence he is 
designated as " Black Jimmy." 

Munmungina (Mun-Mun-gin-ner). A fine and faithful 
black, of good disposition and temper ; had been out on three 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 75- 

expeditions ; the Wimmera was the last, where he was taken ill, 
and returned before his comrades. The black doctors recom- 
mended rambling through the district, which he did, to no effect. 
He died at Mahoon, Western Port, on the 16th August 1845. 

Tonmiel. A young, steady, and faithful policeman ; he con- 
tinued in the service till his death. He had been on duty the 
whole round of the colony from Portland Bay west, to Gippsland 
east and the Murray north ; he died at the police barracks, Narre 
Narre Warren in November 1850. 

Tomboko. This black continued in the service for at the least 
three years ; Captain Dana was particularly partial to him. His 
Inbra was also of great service. She could wash, iron, and do 
needlework almost as well as a white woman. An altercation, 
however, took place at the police barrack, Narre Narre Warren. 
The sergeant brought Tomboko to Melbourne handcuffed, and 
lodged him in the watch-house. My blacks at the Merri Creek 
gave me information of it. I attended the police office next 
morning. No one appeared against him, and he was discharged. 
With all I could do I could not get him to return. He was indus- 
trious and sober. He went a few trips to Gippsland after the 
death of his lubra, where he now is, and has been for the last 
eighteen months, shepherding. 

Waworong. This black continued in the service, I should say, 
at least four years beyond my expectation ; so much so that, when 
Billibellary presented him, I told Captain Dana it was useless to* 
have his name. Is either he* nor any of the Murray family could 
be kept for any continuance from the Yarra Ranges ; he, however, 
was enrolled, and proved a faithful servant of Government ; but 
becoming at length constitutionally affected with the venereal 
disease, he left or had leave of absence. Dr. Jamieson and others 
gave him medicines; his disease gained on him, and, like all blacks 
in great affliction, wandering seems the last recipe; he went rambling 
with a few Yarra blacks, and died in the Yarra Ranges ; the date 
I cannot exactly give, but it was between 1849 and 1850. 

Wideculk (Wi-gee-gulK). Also a fine youth; was in the 
force nearly two years. After returning from the Murray River, 
he became tired of that kind of life, and, though continuing in the 
force, was continually asking for furloughs, and would come to 
Melbourne, plant his police clothes, and get drunk with impunity ; 

'70 . Letters from Victorian Piomers. 

he subsequently was tried for larceny on 15th July 1844. Since 
then he has led a dissipated life. He is at present (if alive) in 

Yamaboke ( Yam-mer-book). An intelligent and faithful black, 
good tempered, and no one on a bush excursion more to be depended 
upon ; was a considerable time in the native police, and had ac- 
companied most of the journeys through the district. On leaving 
the police he commenced, with others, to go to and fro to Gippsland, 
and is, for what I know, still alive in Gippsland ; but he has for 
years been a notorious drunkard. 

Yuptun (Yeap-lune). One of the coolest, commanding 
tempers that ever I knew in a black, but when drunk the most 
determined on mischief. Captain Dana and other officers have 
assured me that for patience, perseverance, and other requisites 
in a long journey no European could equal him. This was the 
black who, in the conflict with the blacks to the westward, had 
the full opportunity of shedding blood to no small extent, but 
would not on his race, although he received several wounds two 
on his head being very severe in saving the life of his superior 
officer, for which he received on his return the commendation of 
His Excellency the present Lieutenant- Governor. He was made 
corporal and received pay. However, since he left the service and 
while in it when opportunity offered, he would get drunk, and to 
such excess that he was in continual trouble ; the last time he 
was convicted with imprisonment. I advised him when I got him 
from the gaol to keep to the bush, which he has done since. 

In every other respect a more kind-hearted, feeling black 
could not be found. In the early history of the colony, his father, 
mother, and elder brother were shot by the settlers in a sheep 
robbery between the Goulburn River and the Ovens, which left him 
to the care of Billibellary, chief of the Yarra tribe, to whom his 
aunt was married ; he is still alive with the DeviPs River tribe. 

Pentridge, 6th April 1854. 

MEMO. His Excellency will perceive that the names for- 
warded are strictly given, but when a material difference exists 
in the orthography, I have indicated in brackets the real name ; 
thus, (Bil-li-bel-lary}, &c., &c., &c. W. T. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 




























































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78 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

It will be seen that all these cases, except Bour-turning (alias 
Billy) merge into drunkenness, viz. : Kulpendure, violently 
drunk, going to cut in two the rope at Richmond Punt because 
the puntman in an instant could not convey him across ; 
Bungerburnanook, leaving a butcher's in Geelong (in whose 
service he had been for some length of time) upon a drunken 
spree, forgetting to return the knife in his belt, was had up 
for larceny. Yeaptune, one of the best of blacks (and most 
faithful of the police) when sober and the worst when drunk, 
was figuring away among a mob of constables, and with difficulty 

The white man Gillmore was drinking hard, when he fell 
in with three blacks, two of them belonging to the police. 
All were drinking hard together. A dispute subsequently 
arose about a bottle of rum. Gillmore became frightened, and 
thought one was going to kill him ; Gillmore shot at him, and 
he fell ; fearful of the others, as he said, he shot and wounded 

Bour-turning's case is more what I would call your attention to 
as it is more important to my mind than the others (though there 
was no loss of life) ; it is from such cases the danger of the 
aborigines may be calculated. My impression ever was, and is 
still the same, that, from the blacks as a body, to Europeans 
there is no danger whatever ; it is our damnable drink that has 
made them so nauseous even to ourselves, without our for a 
moment calculating the beam in our own European eye. But to 
proceed with Billy his case was enveloped in mystery. From 
a child known in the neighbourhood from 8 years of age ; with 
the native police highly respected by every officer, from Mr. 
Dana downwards ; Hurst, Lydiard, and others assured me that 
he must be innocent. All rested on the evidence of the girl, 
who subsequently being found to be of a most objectionable 
character, I lost no time in preparing a memorial to His Excel- 
lency for a commutation of sentence, Avhich memorial was signed 
by the foreman of the jury, and by the whole, except two who 
had left for the diggings. More than one of the jury remarked 
to me that, had they known an hour before the trial what they 
knew an hour after, a verdict quite the reverse would have 
been given. My impression is still the same, that he is and was 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


an innocent man, and as such I do not for a moment consider 
that the aboriginal character is in any way the least affected to 
its prejudice by this trial. 





Tribes frequenting district 





Port Fairy 









Lower Hopkins ... 










Upper ,, 









Grange ... 










Mount Emu 





Glenelg River ... 










W. N. GRAY, C.C.L. 


1843 ... 1,800 

1853 ... ... ... ... ... ... 131 

1854 (February) ... ... ... ... ... 126 

Feb. 9th 1854. C. J. TYERS. 


Yarra Tribe ... ... ... ... ... 36 

Western Port or Coast Tribe... ... ... ... 17 

Gippsland Orphans ... ... ... ... ... 2 



For Return respecting the Mount Rouse Aboriginal Station, 1845-49, 
&c., see Council Papers, 1852-3. 

See also Return printed at the close of Session 1853-54. 


Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Returns with remarks 


Yarra Tribe. 

Western Port Tribe. 




























Yarra Tribe. 

Western Port Tribe. 













1 j 4 














1 | 10 








! 3 





Yarra Tribe. 

Western Port Tribe. 





















Grand total in four years in both tribes, two ; and for three 
years previous in the two tribes there had not been a birth. 
However, these two both died 2 or were killed within a month. 

1 See remarks p. 81. 

3 It is lamentable that the parents will leave the general body of blacks for seven or 
eight days, and invariably return in mourning, "their pickaninny dead." 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


















N.B. These are the two orphan aboriginals; none other are under instruction. 

Deaths. It will be seen by this return that, from the end of 1851 
to the end of 1852, there was a mortality of 18 out of a population 
of 77 nearly . The mortality has been among the males princi- 
pally, viz., 14 males, and but 4 females, one of the latter being an 
infant. Eight were murdered, and two of the murderers were sub- 
sequently arrested and killed. It is true sickness prevailed to a 
great extent among them, and, notwithstanding my continued 
attention, and the truly fatherly visits of the late Colonial Surgeon 
(Dr. Sullivan), 8 died. Three of these, however, were, during the 
druukea freaks of May and June, almost perpetually drunk. Five 
only out of the 18 may be said to have died by the visitation of 
God ; the remainder by violence. 

This year of mortality was ushered in as satisfactorily as could 
be ; the Yarra blacks were engaged with the farmers by the 
Plenty, and most of the Western Port blacks in the county of 
Mornington were engaged at different stations. In February, some 
Western Port blacks returned from Gippsland, bringing about 
10 Warrigal blacks with them. I tried to remove them ; they 
promised day after day to leave. While engaged with them near 
Unwin's survey, south of the Yarra, some messengers were 
despatched, and Melbourne had in a few days three encampments 
within ten miles of it. They begged very hard to remain, and 
said they would leave in three weeks, and not come near the town. 
They had not met for years, and wanted to have once more some 
corrobboree together. I got the three encampments at length to 
one spot in a Government reserve on a bend of the Yarra, about 
twelve or thirteen miles from Melbourne, and addressed His 
Excellency upon the indulgence which was granted, and night 
after night for fourteen days did they enjoy themselves. From 
the time, however, they visited Melbourne scenes of the most 


82 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

awful dissipation ensued. As they were shifted from one spot, 
they would be found two or three miles nearer Melbourne in 
another direction, until, in April and May, from morning to 
night there was naught but drunkenness. While I was taking 
one party off, two were murdered and three were subsequently 
found dead, which, with the previous murder at Brighton, regu- 
larly disgusted the public. After by the aid of police, I got the 
Goulburn, Barrabool, Booning, and Gippsland blacks off, assuring 
them that never more should there be an assemblage. By the 
end of June, the Yarra blacks were settled at the ranges, and the 
Western Port near the coast. 

During this year, reserves were granted the two tribes, and 
provisions secured for them in the bush, so that they are now left 
without the least excuse. I may add that some important cor- 
respondence between the Guardian and the Government took 
place, resulting from the awful outrages of the aborigines inter se, 
touching their case. The difficulties, however, seemed to increase 
as correspondence went on, and the question receded to its former 
position, and justly so. 

The fact is, that all must rest upon aboriginal evidence, to 
admit which (in their present state) Avould jeopardize the life of 
any they had a pique against. A proof of this is the murder 
of one Buller Bullup this year ; I missed him for three weeks 
before any of the other murders were discovered. I made con- 
tinual inquiries about him ; received such evasive replies that I 
was far from satisfied ; in fact, felt that he must have been killed 
by some of the number of strangers in the encampment. King 
Benbow, his brother, and another left for Williamstown for seven 
or eight days about the time. I was about getting a trooper or 
two to drive off the whole of the blacks, and said to a fine young 
man of the Yarra tribe, formerly of the native police, I should 
like to know, if poor Buller Bullup is killed, what tribe did it, and 
I would have the black, if possible, before I sent them away. He 
took me aside and told me, in as cool and deliberate a manner as a 
man could, " That king Benbow, his brother, and another, had 
killed Buller Bullup on account of Yal Yal being killed at 
Brighton, and that they had buried him in a scrub near Williams- 
town," After a little further inquiry this appeared substantiated, 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 83 

and I reported the deed to His Excellency. Benbow subse- 
quently returned, and I felt thoroughly convinced, from his pro- 
testations, that he was innocent. Buller Bullup's murderer, after 
all, I found out to be this very black and two others, and his body 
\vas found, not at Williamstown, but mangled near Richmond 
Swamp. I lost no time in communicating to His Excellency how 
grossly king Benbow had been accused. 

W. T. 

Before I close, there are three documents transmitted to 
Government, not noticed here, of some import, which will put 
His Excellency in possession of the whole of the history of the 
aborigines of the Melbourne tribes, viz. : 

On 21st December 1852. Particular statistics of aborigines 
from 1836 to close of 1851 numbers, schools, &c., with notes. 

December 17th 1853. Returns required by Legislative 
Council 3, 4, 5, with notes. 

December 29th 1853. Returns furnished to Registrar- 
General, viz., 1, 3, 36. 

The above, with the particular returns I left as appendices 
to my last report as Protector, 31st December 1849, will make all 
aboriginal matters complete as respects returns. The manners, 
&c., of them are too numerous for me to be able to supply. 

W. T. 

There are, however, a few (and but a few) lines I can furnish 
in a day or two which are, nevertheless, necessary to make the 
whole complete, viz.: 

Those blacks who have been committed and tried since the 
end of 1849, and the whites who have been committed and 
tried for outrages on the blacks since the same date (all previous 
are in Government returns), and though I had the honour of 
first compiling such a return, I must say it is a most important 
one, the more so as the Attorney-General at Sydney said, some 
years back, such could not be furnished. 

84 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


There is not a more diffident subject to treat upon than the 
superstitions of savage nations, for in treating of their supersti- 
tions wrongfully, you may be an obstacle on the one side to their 
minds being enlightened, and, on the other, place the people in 
the estimation of the world in a different light to what they 
should be. 

There is not a portion of the aboriginal character that I feel 
less confident in remarking upon than their traditionary and 
superstitious notions, not but that I am aware that they exist, 
and that to a considerable extent, but to know their full import 
and meaning I feel persuaded that one had need become an 
aboriginal native. 

And yet much has been written by individuals who have had 
little or no intercourse with them, which has materially bewildered 
the world touching the aborigines of Australia, as to whether 
they have not been so low in creation as to have no conception 
(judging from the vague accounts that have already emanated 
from different authors) of a Deity. 

D. E., an intelligent writer, whose heart is warmly engaged 
in the cause of these poor heathens, remarks (in No. 2 on abori- 
ginal subjects, which appeared in the Geelong Advertiser in 18-44) 
" It is doubtful whether there exists among them any notion of 
the existence of a Supreme Being which contains the slightest 
analogy to revealed truth," and, further, " that where any idea of a 
Supreme Intelligence exists, there have usually existed some out- 
ward indications thereof, as manifested in sacred relics, idols, rites, 
and ceremonies constituting religion; the entire absence of every- 
thing of this sort among the savages of Australia seems, therefore, 
corroborative of the utter loss of the knowledge of God." Equally, 
on the same ground of reasoning, may the conclusion be arrived 
at in this colony a few years since, by one travelling from Gippsland 
to the River Glenelg, and from the Bay to the Murrumbidgee, for 
what " outward indications " would he have witnessed among the 

1 This description of the aborigines appears to have been written by William Thomas, 
the Guardian of the aborigines. ED . 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 85 

white people ? and had he come from some strange land, of a strange 
tongue not having any idea from whence we came, who or what 
we or our fathers were as far as " outward indications "are con- 
cerned, what other impression would the traveller have than that 
we had altogether lost (if we ever had had any) all idea of an 
intelligent Supreme, and upon the very same grounds adduced by 
this zealous writer, that there are no " sacred relics, rites, or 
ceremonies constituting religion " to be observed among us. We 
should consider, moreover, that people may have notions of what 
perhaps theirvery superstitious laws enjoin perfect silence upon, and 
much of this mute solemnity is to be observed in the character 
of the aboriginal inhabitants of Australia. 

Mr. Assistant-Protector Parker, of the Loddon, has supposedly 
discovered " in their ceremonies and superstitions the obscure and 
nearly obliterated relics of the ancient ophiolatry or serpent 
worship," and this from the Mindye. The Miudye is certainly 
considered by them as a visible and invisible being. According 
to their account, he is seen and not seen at one and the same time ; 
but there is no ceremony whatever that I can trace among them 
that bears any analogy to what he supposes can give me any 
belief that they have any notion of the " Ancient Ophiolatry " so 
prevalent formerly, and still known in India and Africa. The 
Mindye has its residence, and some old prejudices exist among the 
aged that a certain family has the power of enchanting or incanting 
this being. The small-pox brought forward by Mr. Parker is no 
more than any other epidemic occasioned by the Mindye. The being 
called theMindye has no independent power; he is under the control 
of the Creator of all things, and, as they superstitiously believe, 
the family afore-mentioned. The term " Monola Mindye," as Mr. 
Parker has it " dust of the Mindye " is incorrect. " Lillipook 
Mindye," which Mr. P. has as a further proof " scales of the 
Mindye " is still more ridiculous. " Lillipook " means the cup 
which held the pock. The personages of the other Deities or 
Superior Beings spoken of by Mr. Parker do not tally with accounts 
received by me. Although I am in possession of much of their 
mythology, yet I am so dissatisfied with my own belief of the real 
meaning that I venture only to give you what I think you may 
safely commit to the press, worked up in your own superior style. 

86 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

What I give you has been tried over and over again from state- 
ments made by old and young of different tribes at various 
times. I have been so scrupulously doubtful of the accuracy, like 
Thomas the Apostle ; I have done as much as could be done 
without becoming an aboriginal native to arrive at the truth. 

Australian Deities. The Australian aborigines believe in two 
principal Deities, viz.: Punjil, the maker of the earth, trees, 
animals, and man. Punjil, they say, had a wife named Boi Boi, 
but he never saw her face. She, however, bore him two children, 
one a son named Binbeal, 1 the other a daughter named Karakarook. 
To Binbeal is committed the sovereignty of the heavens, and to 
Karakarook the incidental occurrences on earth ; while great 
Punjil stalks like a " big one gentleman " in the clouds, on the 
earth, &c., always carrying a " big one sword." 

The Australian's next Deity is Pallian, brother of Puujil. 
Pallian made all seas, rivers, creeks, and waters ; also all the fish 
in the ocean, seas, rivers, &c. He governs the waters; was always 
in the waters, walking, bathing, and going over the seas. 

Creation of Man. Punjil one day cut, with his large knife, 
two pieces of bark, mixed up a lot of clay, and made two black 
men, one very black and the other not quite black more like dirty 
red brick. He was from morning till night making them ; it was 
not bright day then, but the sun was like blood all day. He began 
to make man at the feet, then made legs, and so on to the head. 
He then made the other in like manner, and, smoothing them both 
over with his hand from the feet to the head, he put on one's 
head curly hair and named him Kookinberrook ; on the other 
straight hair and named him Berrookboorn. After finishing the 
two men, Punjil looked on them, was pleased, and danced round 
them. He then lay on each of them, blowing into their nostrils, 
mouth, and navel, and the two men began to move. He bade 
them get up, which they did (young men, not like pickaninnies); 
he told them their names ; he showed his brother Pallian the two 
men he had made. 

Creation of Woman. The next day Pallian was in a creek 
paddling and beating in the water, in which he used to indulge. 

1 Sinbeal, the rainbow, the reflection of which is his wife. See p. 89. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 87 

After some time the water got thick like mud, so that he could 
scarcely move ; he plucked off a small bough from a tree that hung 
over the creek, and looked through the bough at the water, and said, 
" name you." He beat harder and harder, and saw near him come up 
four hands, then two heads, and so on, till breasts, and two human 
figures complete appeared. Pallian exclaimed, " like my brother 
Punjil, me make two Bagrooks." He beat again the waters, and 
the two lubras came above the water and fell on the land, but they 
could not move ; he carried one and then the other to his brother 
Punjil, who breathed into their nostrils, mouth, and navel, and 
Punjil gave them names to one Kunewarra, to the other Kuur- 
rook. They gave each koolin a lubra. Punjil put a spear in 
each koolin's hand, and Karakarook, daughter to Punjil, put in 
each lubra's hand a kannan (woman's stick). Punjil, Pallian, 
and Karakarook go out with them some days, showing them how 
to get their food. The two men were taught to spear kangaroos, 
emus, &c., and the two lubras to get gum, roots, bandicoots, 
grubs, &c. One morning, when they awoke, they " no see Punjil, 
Pallian, and Karakarook"; " they had gone up above." The blacks 
say that all this took place " very far, far away " to the N.W., not 
where " now blackfellows all about here sit down," alluding to 
their belief that man and woman were first created in other 
countries. All agree (I mean different tribes) in stating that 
that country was " far, far away," beyond what they know to 
the N.W., over seas. If the point they direct to be correct, it 
tallies with our position of the western part of Asia. 

How Man first came in possession of Fire. They say that 
" long time after Punjil made man and woman, blacks had no fire, 
were very cold, and eat all flesh raw"; that some lubras went out 
to get food. They were with their kannan digging up murrar 
(piss-ants' eggs), when several snakes of all kinds came up out 
of the earth where they were digging ; that they were terribly 
frightened ; kept beating the snakes but could not kill them. 
To their relief came down Karakarook with a large kannan, and 
two young men named Tourt and Tarrer ; that Karakarook and 
the lubras fought the snakes for a long time, when the end 
of Karakarook's stick broke off; from the piece broken off 
arose smoke. A bird (by their account of the same kind as a 

88 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

crow, only of a great size as large as an eagle) flew down and ran 
off with the fire. Tourt and Tarrer immediately flew up in pur- 
suit of the crow, while Karakarook remained with the lubras. 
The crow flew to a mountain named Nun-nur-woon, where it was 
overtaken by the two flying young men. Tarrer returned 
with the fire safe, having pulled off bark from one tree and another 
to keep it from being exhausted. " Tourt no more come back"; 
he was burnt to death on a mountain named Munnio, where he 
had kindled a small fire lest what small quantity he had should be 
lost, and Punjil, for Tourt's good deed, turned him into a large 
star, that always looks like fire. Karakarook showed the lubras 
her stick, and, having examined the qualities of it, bade them 
never to be without fire. Tarrer afterwards directed them to 
where the stick might be found, and showed them how to make 
fire ; disappeared, and was no more seen. 

Notions of the Flood. The blacks say that after they had fire 
they were all marnumuk (meaning comfortable), and increased to 
great numbers ; and after many, many years " blackf ellows get very 
bad (wicked), when Punjil and Pallian big one sulky." " Punjil 
come down with his big one knife and cut the earth all over like 
blackfellow cut up damper, and come up water, and Pallian drive 
all big one water from sea on land ; then like great guns come up 
koor-reen (storms) and pull up all trees, and come up water every- 
where, and very bad blackfellows drowned, and that great many 
not very bad, Punjil take up and make stars of, and that Punjil 
when all gone water, send another very good man and woman, 
named Berwool and Bobinger, and take and cut up one kangaroo 
and other animals into small pieces and they became a great 
number." Karakarook and Tarrer, directed by Punjil, again 
descend and make Berwool and Bobinger acquainted with the way 
to provide themselves with food and fire, but stop " only little 
time " and then leave them. 

Tradition of the Dispersion of Mankind. The blacks have 
also a tradition of the dispersion of mankind over all the earth. 
They say that mankind, after many years, got very many and again 
very bad, fighting, killing, and eating one another " no work, 
blackfellows only beat and make lubras get 'em tunanan (victuals) ; 
blackfellows all sit down only one country; Punjil come down 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 89 

again with his big knife, big one sulky, and cut into pieces 
all men, women, and children, kangaroo, and all living animals, 
biit they not die. Then come up a great storm (koor-reen), 
followed by many whirlwinds (pit-ker-ring), and take up all 
the pieces and carry them everywhere far, far away and drop 
them in every country ; then blackfellows in all countries ; no 
blackfellows in all countries till then; and blackfellow no more 
see 'em Punjil ; he too much sulky. Black doctors sometimes 
dream of him." 

Tradition of the Origin of Wind. Hurricanes and whirl- 
winds, as well as wind, the blacks have a tradition came from an 
immense flight of magpies a larger species than those at 
present seen. The blacks say that they came in great numbers 
like flights of cockatoos ; that after they came a rushing wind 
and a number of large bags like sacks appeared in the air, at 
first not full ; they filled as they passed along, as you would blow 
full a bladder, and when full " they busted, made noise like gun, 
and then came wind ; no wind before this." It is singular that 
this occurred also " far, far away," and came from N.W. 

Thunder and Lightning. Thunder and lightning they 
believe to be the voice and fire from the eyes of Binbeal 1 when 
he is sulky with the elements, and will be obeyed ; and when he 
has silenced all, he makes the sun stand before him. 

Mvndye. Of all the beings most dreaded by the blacks, the 
principal is the Mindye. It appears to have no independent 
power, but by the command of Punjil is sent to destroy or 
afflict any people for bad deeds, that is to say, when they have 
done very bad things, or not killed enough wild blackfellows 
for their dead. Its form is that of a snake, but of great size, 
though it can contract itself into a small compass extend or 
contract as we would a telescope. The blacks give awful 
accounts of this being ; it can make itself extend miles in 
length. They say that there are little Mindye ; that Mindye 
inhabits a country named Lillgoner to N.W. in this district, and 
resides on a mountain named Bu-ker Bun-nel, and drinks at a creek 

1 I should have stated in the Australian Deities that Binbeal is a god that has a face 
that encompasses the earth, and has a lubra that always accompanies him. Binbeal is the 
rainbow, and his lubra is the reflection which may be seen occasionally. 

90 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

named Neel Kumm; that the ground for a distance round is so hard 
that no rain can penetrate it (kulkubeek) ; that no wood but 
mullin grows near it ; and that the land is covered with hard 
small substances like hail. A family named Munnie Brumbrum, 
the blacks say, have been the only blacks that have ventured to 
put foot on this awful country where Mindye resides, and they 
are the only blacks that can stay the ravages of the Mindye, 
or send it forth. It differs from a snake, by having a large head 
and two ears; it has three fangs coming from its tongue, and 
when it hisses out its fury the earth around is covered with white 
particles like snow, from which the blacks say the disease is 
inhaled. It often ascends the highest tree in a forest, and, like a 
ring-tailed opossum, secures its hold, and stretches itself over a 
vast extent of 20 and 30 miles. 

When Mindye is in a district the blacks run for their lives, 
setting the bush on fire as they proceed, and not stopping to 
bury their dead or attend to any seized. Many drop down dead on 
the road. When seized, pains seize them in the back, with violent 
retching. When they try to get up they fall down; those not seized 
are quite well. The celebrated Munuie Brumbrum, the blacks 
say, can arrest and stay the Mindye by a secret move with his 
hand or finger. Such is the nature of the attack of the Mindye. 
Any plague is supposed to be brought on by the Mindye or some 
of its little ones. I have no doubt that, in generations gone by, 
there has been an awful plague of cholera or black fever, and that 
the wind at the time, or some other appearance from N.W., has 
given rise to this strange being. 

Superstition about Consulting Bears. The bear is a privi- 
leged animal, and is often consulted in very great under- 
takings. I was out with a celebrated Western Port black tracking 
five other blacks. The tracks had been lost some days at a 
part of the country where we expected they must pass. We 
ran down a creek ; after going some miles a bear made a noise 
as we passed. The black stopped, and a parley commenced. I 
stood gazing alternately at the black and the bear. At length my 
black came to me and said, " Me big one stupid ; bear tell me no 
you go that way." We immediately crossed the creek, and took 
a different track. Strange as it may appear, we had not altered 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 91 

our course above one and a half miles before we came upon the 
tracks of the five blacks, and never lost them after. The bear, 
too, must not be skinned. The blacks have a strange tale of the 
bears having stolen all their tarnuk (buckets) and drained a creek 
of Avater, and so bewildered the blacks that Karakarook came 
down, and it was settled by Karakarook, on the part of the 
blacks, that they would no more take the skins from the bears' 
bodies, and on the part of the bears, that they would no. more in 
any way molest the blacks in supply of water and vessel. The 
wombat (or warren) is also a sacred animal, and must not be 
skinned. Many birds are also sacred ; some may be eaten by the 
aged only ; others by the doctors only. 

Superstitious Notions of the Warmum. The blacks have 
superstitious notions of many places, in which, no doubt, in 
bygone days some awful calamity had befallen their fore- 
fathers. Warmum is a very high mountain N.W. of Gippsland 
and N.E. of Western Port. The blacks have a superstitious 
notion that whoever looks on this mountain direct will first be 
struck blind, and then dead ; no one can look at it and live unless 
through some medium. The lubras veil their faces when they 
come within sight, or put boughs and twigs before their faces. 
The men, when prompted by curiosity to behold it, look along a 
stick as white people would do through a telescope. The blacks 
say that " big one Punjil once sit on that mountain." 

Charmers or Enchanters. There are characters among the 
blacks Avho are supposed to possess powers according to their 
various qualifications. When a continuance of rain is desired, 
the charmer is applied to, who sings, 

" Won-ner-rer Nger-wein Barm-we-are Won-ner-rer 
Tin-der-buk Koo-de-are Nger-wein Koo-de-are Tin-der-buk 
Kar-row-lin." l 

During the time that this is sung the charmer sits in his 
mia-mia, and with a piece of thin bark, about a foot or eighteen 
inches long, continues throwing hot dust from the fire into the air, 
alternately mumbling and singing the above song ; in fact, all 
their charmings are in mumbling language, not known to the rest 
of the blacks. 

1 I have not succeeded in getting a translation of this song, if indeed the words have 
any meanitig at all. ED. 

92 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

We have iii the Western Port tribe a celebrated charmer-away 
of rain, old Bobbinary. I have known this man to be kept singing 
for hours. The blacks say, when Bobbinary was a child that it had 
been raining for some days, and " blackfellows all sad, their bellies 
tied up to keep off hunger ; that the child Bobbinary began to 
sing, and that sun immediately came out, and no more rain. That 
ever since then he has been able to send rain away." 

Doctors. The blacks have various kinds of doctors for eyes, 
bowels, head, &c., and, like white physicians, are noted in pro- 
portion to the remarkable cures said to have been wrought. 
But the highest pitch of the profession is flying. Among the 
tribes who have visited the settlement there has been but one, 
that has come to my knowledge, possessed of this power, whose 
name is Malcolm, of the Mount Macedon tribe. I have known 
this man to be sent for 100 miles. The blacks say that he has 
power to soar above the clouds, and to fly like an eagle ; he also 
can, in some cases, recover the marmbula (kidney fat) when it has 
been stolen. I have a most singular account of one of his serial 
journeys, together with the solemnity of the encampment during 
his two hours' flight, but cannot trace it now. This Malcolm 
(aboriginal name Myngderrar) is said to have inherited this power 
from his father, who was famous before him. 

Murrina Kooding, or Strength Lost. In the encampment 
south of the Yarra, on the evening of l were Goul- 

burn, Mount Macedon, Barrabool, Yarra, and Western Port 
blacks. The Goulburn lubras, quite naked, stole upon seven 
young men. No sooner had the women their hands on the heads 
of the young men than the latter appeared helpless ; they cut 
from each young man a lock of his hair. As soon as the hair was 
cut the young men fainted ; the women took the ornaments from 
the men's heads and decamped. The young men's friends came 
about them to comfort them, but life apparently could scarcely be 
kept in them. Their friends sat with them the whole of the 

On the following morning, the doctors assembled ; a fire was 
made about a quarter or half a mile from the encampment, and 

1 The date is omitted in the MS. ED. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 9 

the seven young men were brought, each borne by two friends 
bearing pieces of lighted bark in their hands, to the spot ; the 
young men were placed round the large fire at some distance, and 
before each was the bark brought by the friends. The doctors, 
mumbling and humming, with a piece of glass bottle commenced 
scraping off all the hair from the crown of the head to the feet, 
and then rubbed them from head to feet with werup (red ochre). 
The young men lay speechless during the whole of the time the 
ceremony was being performed, and every muscle of their faces 
seemed to be keenly noticed by the doctors. This ceremony lasted 
from sunrise to three hours afterwards. I understand that these 
young men would have died had not this ceremony been performed. 
Strength left them as the lock fell from their heads. (Is not this 
some semblance to Samson's case?) 

Native Encampment. Although there may be 150 mia-mias 
(native huts) erected on the formation of a fresh native encamp- 
ment, no altercation, to my knowledge, has ever taken place 
touching site, or trees to be barked. They know beforehand where 
the chief's mia-mia is to be, and the distance required for his 
immediate connexions none asking his fellow permission or 
advice. They commence barking and building ; in one half hour' 
I have seen one of the most beautiful, romantic, and stillest parts of 
the wilderness become a busy and clamorous town, and the beauti- 
ful forest marred for materials for their habitation, and as much 
bustle as though the spot had been located for generations. 

Although to a casual observer a native encampment may 
appear void of arrangement, such is not the case ; if the whole or 
most of a tribe be present, it is divided into small hamlets of about 
six mia-mias each, distant from each other five or six yards, merely 
sufficient to prevent the fires of one from molesting the other. The 
hamlets are about twenty yards from each other, or more, according 
to the space of ground on which they are encamped. In each of 
these hamlets is one married man of consequence, whose duty it is 
to keep order, settle differences, &c. It often happens that one 
hamlet may have an altercation with another ; a lubra may have 
been seduced, or what not. The two hamlets will settle the dis- 
pute early on the following morning, the other hamlets no more 
interfering than if nothing was on the carpet, precisely as in some 

D4 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

of our courts and alleys in England when two neighbours quarrel, 
the others take no more notice than if nothing was the matter. I 
have often been much annoyed, when I have seen one knocking 
the other about and blood flowing from the head, to see an influ- 
ential black of the next hamlet, coolly sitting at his mia-mia smoking 
his pipe merely looking on. They hold no animosity when the 
quarrel is settled by the magistrate of the hamlet. The combatants 
may be seen sitting together sucking or cleaning each others' 
wounds, or smoking their pipes and eating together, 

Fight between Barrabool and Buninyong Blacks North of Mel- 
bourne. When two or more tribes congregate, they are ushered 
in by the messengers, who had been previously despatched with 
their diplomas, 1 one of whom, some hours previous to the tribes' 
approach, will return, and state the success or ill-success of his 
mission. The new comers will sit down about half an hour, 
when the principal males assemble. If their meeting be hostile 
(which is known for days before), the war-cry is heard for a 
mile or more ere they arrive at the encampment. At length the 
party arrives ; all males are seated together, their heads and faces 
daubed with clay; they look beastly and terrific. The one I shall 
describe took place 5th December 1844 at half-past four. The 
Barrabool blacks close lined ten lines, with eight and ten in 
each line, seat themselves W. of the Buninyongs. After half an 
hour, King William, chief of the Barrabool tribe, advanced and 
stated " that charges had been made against his blacks of killing 
two of the Buninyougs and stealing lubras ; that his blacks were not 
afraid of them, and had come down and were ready to have the 
accusers' spears thrown at them." While speaking, another ad- 
vances, and brings charges against the Barrabool blacks, and bids 
them to come forward. This rouses the ire of the opposite tribe, 
when two step forward and rebut or acknowledge the assertions, 
remarking that they also are ready, in the presence of the other 
tribes assembled, to stand foremost and receive the spears of their 
opponents, &c. A general bustle may be seen now in both parties ; 
the parties more particularly accused prepare themselves, if of 
murder undisputed, perfectly naked, and in mourning from head 

1 Two sticks about 6 or 8 inches lontf. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 95 

to foot, squatted 011 the ground, without spear or any other weapon 
.save a shield to ward off the spears. In this case it is more a 
judicial proceeding, or the law being carried into effect, and though 
the tribes are all under arms it is more to check any disturbance or 
interruption to the execution of what they consider the sentence. 
But if it be a disputed case, the parties accused on each side, gene- 
rally two, three, or four, may be seen stepping forward, capering 
round and round, with small bunches of leaves round their ankles, 
as sometimes in a corrobboree ; both parties are now on the general 
move, shaking their weapons at each other, which raises their 
anger, giving three yells, stamping, and making the most frightful 
grimaces, and with distorted gestures gathering up dust and 
throwing towards their opponents, which excites both parties 
the more. A fire is made ; then kicking the fire about they 
form themselves again into lines, and their chief leads them ; 
they generally branch out and form a crescent, or extend 
into a long straight line. They may be seen now on both sides 
capering in the strangest attitudes the body can be placed in, 
some running to and fro with long spears in their hands, with their 
noses almost touching the ground ; others vociferating, lifting up 
their heels to their bottoms ; some advancing even among their 
opponents, and as actively backing themselves, pointing and 
gritting their teeth, while others are dancing round and round like 
Jim Crow. Those with leaves around their legs are stationary. 
All the aforesaid moves and grimaces are merely flashes in the 
pan ; the chiefs and other important characters keep on wrangling, 
pointing with their spears towards one party and another till the 
word of command. Then each black is at his post, and won- 
guims, spears, &c., all beside each fighting man, and the real warm 
work commences with wonguims, which are hurled apparently 
indiscriminately, but not so. You would be apt to doubt, seeing 
them five minutes after they commenced, to which side some 
belonged there appears such confusion ; but among them it is 
otherwise each knows his work. The missiles are, in the first 
instance, hurled without intermission, directed to those who have the 
boughs on their legs. Some soon hit others, who plant themselves 
(purposely) near their friends, which causes a general fight. When 
the Avonguims are all exhausted, then spears are used ; and should, 

96 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

after all, the parties who should have received punishment escape 
(those with boughs around the ankles), they are pounced upon 
with bludgeons, and at close combat seldom escape unhurt. If 
things get too serious, the chiefs of other tribes will interfere (for 
the blacks never fight but in the presence of two or three other 
tribes, aware of their own weakness or passions), and with leonile 
rushing between the contending parties, bring the matter to a close, 
which is, like its commencement, ended in war, war, war, as they 
call it, or high words. The fighting over, one after another may 
be seen moving off grumbling as he goes, and in half an hour all is 
the greatest harmony, and generally there is a corrobboree at night. 
They seldom do much execution in their fights a few wonguim and 
spear wounds in some not dangerous parts of the body. They are 
too adroit in warding off from the breast and other mortal parts. 

Arrangement in Encampment when Different Tribes meet. 
I have often been struck with the exact position each tribe 
takes in the general encampment, precisely in the position from 
each other their country lies according to the compass (of which 
they have a perfect notion). I have found this invariably the 
case, and latterly could form an idea on the arrival of blacks what 
part they came from. A particular instance of this I noticed 
when the greatest number of blacks (up to that time) that had ever 
visited the Settlement was encamped N.E. by E. from Melbourne 
about two miles, to witness the judicial proceedings against 
Poleorong and Warrador for killing the Warralim youth at Too- 
radin, Western Port (Mr. Manton's). There were upwards of 
800 blacks by the Settlement no small portion of seven tribes 
viz., the Loddon, Campaspe, Groulburu, Mount Macedon, Barra- 
bool, Yarra, and Western Port. The two undergoing punishment 
were two of the leading men and greatest warriors in the Western 
Port tribe. A bird's-eye view would look down upon the 
encampment thus 

1. Loddon Blacks. 

2. Campaspe Blacks. 4. Goulburn Blacks. 

3. Mount Macedon Blacks. 5. Yarra Blacks. 

6. Barrabool Blacks. 

7. Western Port Blacks. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 97 

Generally speaking, there is not a more peaceable community 
than the blacks when but one tribe is present. I have often been 
out with them for months with scarce an altercation, years back, 
when they were less corrupted, and fewer settlers in the district. 
I should have stated, on the meeting of tribes there is generally, 
in a short time, howling among the women. As the women are 
married from other tribes, they are permitted to go and sit down with 
the females. When they hear of one and another of their friends 
having died, they will anxiously inquire if their murder has been 
avenged, and if there is no flesh to assuage their grief they mourn 
and mar themselves, as described by me in my burial of the dead 
which I presume you have, though that was never finished. 

Ceremony of Tanderrum, or Freedom of the Bush. There is 
not, perhaps, a more pleasing sight in a native encampment than 
when strange blacks arrive who have never been in the country 
before. Each comes with -fire in hand (always bark), which is 
supposed to purify the air the women and children in one 
direction, and the men and youths in another. They are ushered 
in generally by some of an intermediate tribe, who are friends of 
both parties, and have been engaged in forming an alliance or 
friendship between the tribes ; the aged are brought forward and 
introduced. The ceremony of Tanderrum is commenced ; the 
tribe visited may be seen lopping boughs from one tree and another, 
as varied as possible of each tree with leaves ; each family has a 
separate seat, raised about 8 or 10 inches from the ground, on 
which in the centre sits the male and around him his male children, 
and the female and her sex of children have another seat. 

Two fires are made, one for the males and the other for the 
females. The visitors are attended on the first day by those whose 
country they are come to visit, and not allowed to do anything for 
themselves; water is brought them which is carefully stirred by the 
attendant with a reed, and then given them to drink (males attend 
males and females females) ; victuals are then brought and laid 
before them, consisting of as great a variety as the bush in the 
new country affords, if come-at-able ; during this ceremony the 
greatest silence prevails, both by attendants and attended. You 
may sometimes perceive an aged man seated, the tear of gratitude 
stealing down his murky, wrinkled face. At night their mia-mias 

98 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

are made for them ; conversation, &c., ensue. The meanitig of this 
is a hearty welcome. As the boughs on which they sit are from 
various trees, so they are welcome to every tree in the forest. 
The water stirred with a reed means that no weapon shall ever be 
raised against them. On Saturday, the 22nd March 1845, at an 
encampment east of Melbourne, near 200 strangers arrived. The 
sight was. imposing and affecting, especially their attendance upon 
that old chief Kuller Kullup, the oldest man I have ever seen 
among the blacks ; he must have been near 80 years. 

Female coming of Age Ceremony of Murrnm Turrukerook. 
Murrum Turrukerook is the name of the ceremony when a female 
comes to years of maturity, which is generally about thirteen or 
fourteen years of age, though age is no criterion, but the blood in 
the womb; when the first discharge of blood ceases, which they 
say is about three moons, they are of age. There were (at the 
one I am describing) two large fires of bark made (no wood of 
any kind save the bark) at about 100 yards from the encampment, 
at which was one aged lubra sitting down pensive. Bungerrook, 
the young woman (daughter of the Chief Billibellary) was brought 
forth in the encampment covered all over from head to foot with 
kunnundure (charcoal powder), except white spots all over her 
face and body, which gave her a singular appearance. She was 
attended by her mother, and another who led her. Her mother 
aided her up on a log, where the young woman stood silent and sad 
as though doing penance. She held a small branch in her hand, 
every leaf taken off, and on each twig was a piece of bread. 
About twenty young men went up to her slowly; each threw a 
little stick at her merely a twig ; the young men then drew 
near, and each bit off a bit of bread from the twig of the young 
damsel, and then spat it into the fire, and turned back and 
approached the second time, stamping and making the earth shake 
under them as they do in corrobboree, and raving and stamping 
out the fire. The same two lubras, who were her attendants, 
gathered the twigs thrown at her by the young men, and buried 
them deep in the earth. (This was to prevent her kidneys from 
wasting and falling into others' hands.) The twig held by the 
damsel was then demanded by the one who had charge of the fires, 
who gathers up the ashes and covers up the little twig when it is 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 99 

burued. " She is then handed down from the log by her mother, 
who, with the other attendant, takes her to her father's inia-mia. 
A corrobboree, if it is a chief's daughter, as was this case, takes 
place at night, at which the father leads the dance. The young 
men before alluded to alone corrobboree. She is after this of age 
to have a kooliu, not before. 

The purport of this ceremony is, on the part of the young men, 
that they will not defile her person without her consent, or suffer 
others to do so, but will protect her to their utmost till she is law- 
fully married. 

Ceremony of Tib-but, or Males coming of Age. This is 
altogether a beastly concern. The young men have all the hair 
cut close from their heads, save a narrow streak from the front 
of the neck to the forehead, which gives them a raw-headed 
appearance. This is performed by a married man, and one of 
influence. The hair is first cut with scissors ; the head then 
scraped with glass. The head is then daubed over with mud, 
closely put on like plaster, the streak of hair being raised 
up, which gives the youth a still more beastly appearance ; there 
are strips of old rags, string, slips of opossum skin, and old rope, 
and all the variety of stripes with which a fringed apron girdles 
his body all round, flapping round his bottom, his face and body 
daubed over with motley daubs of clay, mud, charcoal powder 
in fact, every mess. To add to his beastly appearance, he 
is not allowed to have a blanket to cover him or anything 
night or day, and it is generally the winter season selected for 
this purpose. He goes through the encampment calling out " Tib- 
bo-bo-but." He has a basket under his arm, which contains 
all the filth he can pick up, not even omitting soil. In this 
plight, night and day, he is occasionally going through the 
encampment. He is not molested by any one. He frightens and 
bedaubs all he meets with some of the beastly commodities con- 
tained in his basket, but must not touch any Avho are in their 
mia-mias, or lubras on the way getting water, but in every other 
case he is at liberty to annoy and frighten all he meets ; the 
children are awfully frightened at him, and will fly, screaming, to 
their parents. He must, when he is on the move, continually cry 
out " Tib-bo-bo-but," which is the only warning the poor creatures 

100 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

have of escaping him. I have been often struck at the fear created 
by him, though the encampment knows what it is, and think there 
must be more in the meaning than I am acquainted with. When 
his days are over, which last some time till appearance of hair 
begins to show itself, he is washed, and the females stripe his 
face with certain charcoal streaks mingled with werup (red ochre), 
and dance before him. 

P.S. You have read what I wrote for His Honor Judge 
Jeffcott. These scraps will give you a better idea of the people. 
Time will not permit me to give others ; and much that I have by 
me I cannot give you as yet, as I do not understand satisfactorily 
its purport. You are a married man, or I would not have stated 
what I have on the female coming of age. It will show you that 
these people have some respect for laws of nature ; in fact, they 
are more delicate than white people in many respects. There is 
one black who had a child by his daughter, and he is looked upon 
as a regular beast. 

These accounts are quickly put together, but the purport is 
correct, though you will find grammatical blunders innumerable. 

WM. T. 

No. 15. 

My DEAR SIR, Melbourne, 4th August 1853. 

Along with this note I have much pleasure in forwarding a 
statement drawn up in answer to Your Excellency's letter of the 
25th ultimo; and I have to express my regret that I have not 
been able in all instances to give dates as I could have wished. 
Your Excellency will also perceive that the account of the occu- 
pation of the Dandenong district before I went to live in it, is 
given only on the information of others, and may not therefore 
be in every point correct. 

I remain, my dear Sir, 

Very truly yours, 

C. J. La Trobe, Esq., Lieut. -Governor of Victoria. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 101 

In the beginning of August 1838, the Rev. Mr. Clow took 
possession of the cattle run, Corhanwarrabul, which was so named 
after the mountain that formed its north-eastern boundary, but his 
home-station was at Tirhatuan, that part of the run which is 
adjacent to the junction of the Narrewong with the Dandenong. 

Before that period the more eligible portion of the country 
beyond him had been taken up. Mr. John Highett, he has been 
informed, was the first settler that crossed the Dandenong with 
stock, and that he was followed by O'Connor and the Ruffys, 
and that next after them came Mr. Joseph Hawdon, who may be 
considered the first that settled on the Dandenong, as those who 
had preceded him had gone about eight or ten miles to the east of 
it. He transferred his right to the Dandenong run to Captain 
Lousdale, who had Mr. Alfred Langhorne for his overseer at the 
time Mr. Clow settled at Tirhatuan. Their head station was at 
the bridge over the creek, where the present township of Dande- 
nong is situated. They had one out-station, Eumemmering, and 
both of these were transferred to Dr. McCrae in 1839; and 
shortly afterwards Eumemmering was transferred by him to the 
Fosters, and by them to Johnstone and Wilson, and by them to 
Mr. Power, by whom it is still held. The Dandenong station 
was retained by Dr. McCrae for several years, and then became 
the property of its present occupant, Mr. R. C. Walker. The 
run, which belongs at present to Mr. Charles Wedge, and which 
is generally known by the name of the Waterholes, was a part of 
country originally occupied by Mr. Hawdon, and has been since 
then in the possession of various owners. 

Along the Dandenong, on the east side, towards the moun- 
tain, and adjacent to Eumemmering, was the Corhanwarrabul 
run, which was occupied twelve years by Mr. Clow, and trans- 
ferred by him to Mr. Beilby, its present owner. In 1840 he 
formed an out-station close to the base of Corhanwarrabul, on 
one of three rivulets, which fall into a swamp, and which, on 
issuing from it at its south-west extremity, compose the Narre- 
wong creek. These on the side next the mountain always con- 
tinue to run, however hot or long the dry season may be ; but in 
general, for two or three months after the first of January, the 
Narrewong ceases to run, the water from the mountain being 

102 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

evaporated and lost in the swamp, where it has no channel, and 
is spread out over a large surface among long grass and rushes. 
In dry summers the Dandenong, along its whole course, also 
ceases to run for one, two, or three months, and, like many other 
creeks in Australia, it spreads out, ere it reaches the sea, into a 
swamp, where a great portion of its water is lost, and evaporated 
in the way that has just been described. 

Throughout the period of Mr. Clow's residence at Tirhatuan, 
his family was very frequently visited by the aborigines belonging 
to the Yarra Yarra and Western Port tribes. They often encamped 
near his house; they were uniformly treated with kindness, and in 
return they always conducted themselves peaceably and honestly. 
While encamped on the Melbourne side of the Dandenong till 
a bridge was made for crossing the cattle and dray, his party was 
visited by a number of blacks, but the day after he crossed, about 
half a mile from his tents, an old man was found alone, beside a 
crab-hole in which was a little water, but he was without food 
and shelter. He had been left there by his tribe, because he had 
fallen from a tree, and was so lame that he was incapable of 
accompanying them on a hunting excursion to Corhanwarrabtil. 
He was removed to the tents, for he could not walk, and was 
taken care of till his people returned ; but as they did not do so 
in less than a week, it is difficult to conceive how he could have 
survived so long had he not been removed to the tents and fed. 
For the kindness shown him he was very grateful. He appeared 
to be the oldest member of his tribe, but lived many years after 
that time, and often referred to the occurrence which first brought 
him to Mr. Clow's acquaintance, but never did so without the 
most evident satisfaction and thankfulness. Not very long 
after the Tirhatuan Station was formed, Jack Weatherly, 
who was one of the finest looking and most intelligent of the 
natives, was applied to by Mrs. Clow, in Melbourne, to carry some 
biscuits to her son, as she was apprehensive that his provisions 
must have been expended, and as, owing to the state of the 
country after a heavy fall of rain, it seemed to be the best, if not 
the only way, she could send him a supply. 

He readily agreed to carry four dozen of biscuits to the 
station, a distance of seventeen miles, on the very easy terms that 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 103 

he should have six to himself. With evidently great delight he 
stowed away his own in his dress, took up the bag containing 
the rest, and the note which was to be delivered along with it, 
and walked away, apparently quite proud that he was trusted. 
However, a few miles before he reached Tirhatuan, he fell in 
with a hunting party, and being one of the most athletic and 
expert of his tribe, he could not resist the temptation to join in 
the chase ; but before he did so he handed over the note and 
biscuits to a young man with strict injunctions to take them on, 
and deliver them immediately, and accordingly they were so 
delivered, contrary to the generally expressed opinion at the time 
Weatherly was despatched, for it was well known that the 
aborigines were particularly partial to bread and biscuit, and it 
was therefore inferred that the temptation to appropriate those 
\A-hich he had in charge would prove too strong for his moral 
courage to resist. This trifling incident is a pleasing illustration 
of the trustworthiness of two of the aborigines, and reflects 
favourably on the whole tribe, for it is not unreasonable to suppose 
that there were others belonging to it, who, if they had been em- 
ployed in the same way, would have acted in a similar manner. 
As to their honesty, no instance to the contrary was ever de- 
tected at Tirhatuan. Potatoes and melons were two articles of 
which they were very fond, and were produced at the station, and 
quite accessible; but never was a single instance known of any 
of them being stolen by the aborigines. They would not even go 
to a potato field that had been dug to look for potatoes without 
first asking and obtaining leave. The principal annoyance result- 
ing from their so much frequenting the run was occasioned by old 
Murray's dogs. That sable chieftain, who never could be in- 
duced to adopt any part of "whitefellow's" dress, always travelled 
with a large pack, and as necessity compelled him to train them 
to the principle of self-reliance for a livelihood, they were very 
ready to hunt the cattle, and, if possible, make some little calf 
their victim. 

At the time the Tirhatuan Station was formed, some of the 
natives expressed a determination to be revenged on one of the 
servant men. As soon as they saw him there, they recognised 
him as one whose conduct towards some of their women, before he 

104 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

came into Mr. Clow's service, had given them great offence. 
He confessed that he had been to blame, and asked for his dis- 
charge, which was immediately given him, and he was safely 
returned to Melbourne. It is probable that, had they had mi 
opportunity, they would have murdered him ; but in doing so 
would they have done more than has been done by many 
Europeans, though in a more refined way ? Like other savages, 
they are naturally revengeful, but it is to be feared that on too 
many occasions their atrocities have not been committed without 
grievous provocation. 

The next settler on the Dandenong was Mr. Thomas Napier, 
who now resides in the parish of Doutta Galla. His run, which 
he took up about October 1839, lay along the western side of the 
creek, and extended from the Tirhatuan bridge to Scott's bridge. 
About a year afterwards he sold it to Mr. Scott, who died in 
Melbourne before he went to live there; but it was occupied 
by Mrs. Scott and family for two or three years, when they 
formed a small station on the other side of the creek, and sold the 
other to a family of the name of Drew. 

It was afterwards subdivided and occupied by a number of 
small settlers, who were principally employed in taking timber 
from that neighbourhood to Melbourne and other places for the 
purposes of building and the enclosing of purchased land. 

Two brothers of the name of Rourke, who were, in the first 
instance, sawyers on Mrs. Scott's original run, formed the station, 
which the elder brother still holds near the sources of the 

The aboriginal station of Narre Narre Warren was formed by 
Mr. Assistant Protector Thomas, and is so well known, that it is 
unnecessary for me to give you any account of it. 

The first settlers below the Daudenoug bridge, and beyond 
the run belonging to Messrs. Lonsdale and Langhorue, were 
Mr. Solomon and Major Frazer. The former had his station 
above the swamp through which the Dandenong passes, and the 
latter had his below it on the bay of Port Phillip. 

About six miles in a north-easterly direction from Tirhatuan, 
on the south side of the principal stream which descends from the 
mountain of Corhanwarrabul, and which mainly contributes to 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 105 

form the Narrewong Creek below the swamp, is the sheep station 
of Monbolloc, which was first occupied by Messrs. Kerr and 
Dobie. It is small and scrubby, and has passed through many 
hands since its formation. 

On the south-east of Monbolloc is the small cattle station of 
Will- Will-Rook, originally formed and still possessed by Mr. 
Varcoe and his family. 

About the month of January 1850, during one night and a 
part of the succeeding day, an unusual noise, somewhat resembling 
that of a bush fire at a distance, was heard at Tirhatuan, and at 
an out-station about three miles off, situated near the Gap in the 
ranges behind Narre Narre Warren. At the former place it was 
heard by Mrs. Clow and others living there. She rose in the 
night time, and looked out to see if any of the huts was on fire ; 
and daring the day she went repeatedly into the verandah in front 
of the house to listen; and as the noise seemed to come from 
the rises on the west side of the creek, she sent two persons as far 
as the bridge with a view to ascertain what it was. On their 
return they said they could not tell, but that when they were at 
the bridge, the noise seemed to be at the house. The overseer 
happened to come, and she spoke of it to him, but he said that he 
had not noticed any unusual sound ; neither did he then perceive 
any. He was in a hurry and went off immediately ; but, happen- 
ing to go to the out-station at the Mountain Gap, he was asked 
by the two men there, both of whom had resided in the colony 
only a short time, and were therefore perhaps more liable to be 
easily alarmed, whether the fire was coming that way. He said 
he did not know of any fire. They told him that they had not 
slept during the night, for they had heard a noise as of a great 
fire at a distance, and were afraid it was coming in that direction, 
and that they could still discern it. He was thus forcibly 
reminded of what he had just before heard, and on going a little 
way to a rise, he listened, and acknowledged that he could dis- 
tinctly hear a noise similar to that which had been described, but 
could not tell what occasioned it. 

As heard by Mrs. Clow, the noise was not always the same, 
"but rose and fell, and after dying away for a little would begin 
again and gradually increase. 

IOC Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

To some it seemed to be in the air, but the prevailing impres- 
sion on her mind at the time, and that to which she is still 
inclined, is, that it was subterranean. It will perhaps be con- 
sidered corroborative of this opinion that, on two previous 
occasions, an earthquake had been distinctly heard and felt there. 

The first was experienced in February or March 1843. It 
occurred at midnight, when the moon was full, the sky cloudless, 
and the wind still. To me and others who heard it at Tirhatuan, 
the sound was as if a light conveyance, making a sharp rattling 
noise, had passed rapidly between the house and the kitchen 
these buildings being about eight yards apart. 

The tremor, though distinctly felt, was not great ; but at the 
out-station, near the base of the mountain, both the shock and the 
noise were very considerable. 

The two men sleeping in the hut were instantly roused, and 
ran out to ascertain what was the matter ; but neither seeing nor 
hearing anything unusual, they conjectured what had happened ; 
and as the shock was experienced in the same manner at Rourke's 
station, about five miles off, it would appear that it was severest 
along the base of the mountain. 

The second shock was felt in 1847, at the same season of the 
year. It occurred at four o'clock in the afternoon, and was 
experienced at the same time in Melbourne and other adjacent 
places. Those in the house at Tirhatuan, when they felt it 
moving, ran out in alarm, not doubting for a moment what it was. 
And a party that were out riding in the direction of the mountain 
heard it, and were struck with the noise as an extraordinary one ; 
but, instead of ascribing it to an earthquake, they thought it was 
caused by horses galloping in the bush. 

Although the sound which has been described is not likely to 
have been produced by the action of wind on the forest, as the 
weather at the time is said to have been calm and settled, and al- 
though Mrs. Clow was then, and still is, of opinion that it was 
subterranean, yet perhaps it is possible that it was occasioned by 
currents of air in the atmosphere, but so elevated as not to disturb 
any objects on the face of the country, at least not in that 
immediate neighbourhood. It had often been observed that the 
wind blew very partially in that locality. Narrow belts of the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 107 

forest, scarcely a quarter of a mile broad and several miles long, 
might be seen on the run, strewed with fallen branches and 
uprooted trees, showing that- a hurricane had swept along that 
tract, whilst the forest on both sides remained uninjured. 

And it was no uncommon thing for one to witness the top 
of trees bending and tossed about in wild commotion though 
not broken down along only a narrow strip, and to hear the 
sound thereby occasioned, as then, on the surface of the earth and 
within very circumscribed limits ; so, at some elevation above, very 
partial and very powerful currents of air may sweep along, and, 
if they sometimes fly with increased, and sometimes with 
diminished speed, as in a hurricane or typhoon, the swelling and 
subsiding of the noise which was heard might be thereby 
occasioned. No doubt it is difficult, if not impossible, to conceive 
how currents of wind in the atmosphere alone could make a noise, 
as, in order to produce it, something opposing or retarding the 
current of air seems to be absolutely required. 

No. 16. 


On the 23rd of August 1847, the application for this run 2 was 
accepted and registered in favour of J. Clow, junior, by the Com- 
missioners of the Wimmera district. 

Owing to the scarcity of water between it and Lake Hind- 
marsh (the distance being 50 miles), no stock was put upon it 
until the month of May 1848. As the scarcity continued, the 
sheep were removed in November of the same year. In April 
1849, the right of station was sold to And. Russell, Esq., mer- 
chant, Melbourne, for 15. It has been used as a winter out- 
station by him. The Wimmera River, however, has at last forced 
its way through the desert and along a former channel into this 

1 Native name " Wirringrre." 

2 No. 78 on Ham's map. Fifty miles north of Lake Hlndmarsh, and the lowest run on the- 
Wimmera Itiver. 

108 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

tract of country, and inundated it to such an extent that it is 
doubtful whether it was not more valuable in its former state 
than now. The water obtained there in 1848 was from a well 
20 feet deep. It was sunk chiefly through the old red sandstone 
formation, 1 and the spring of water fallen in with underneath it 
appeared to be a very strong one. The pasturage on the beds of 
the present lakes, and on the slopes of their banks, was of the best 
description, consisting much of salsolaceous herbage. Some of 
the Lake Hindmarsh tribe having been taken to assist in driving 
the stock thither, and in finding water for us on the journey, it 
obtained for us a friendly reception from the aborigines of this 
isolated tract. For months afterwards it existed, until the over- 
seer, one night about eleven o'clock, fired at what he supposed to 
be a wild dog rushing the sheep in the yard, but which unfor- 
tunately turned out to be a blackfellow. The aim was fatal, 2 the 
ball of the pistol going through his head. 

This tract of country was frequented by both the Murray and 
Wimmera River blacks. The Murray is distant 60 miles. 

I am given to understand that this run, which contains, or did 
contain, 60 square miles of good pasture land, was sold about a 
mouth ago for 1,500. This was solely for the right of station. 

J. M. CLOW. 

No. 17. 3 

About thirty miles to the westward of Lake Hindmarsh lies 
the large sandy desert^ through which the boundary line between 
the Victorian and South Australian territories runs. The most 
north-westerly tract of pastoral country in the Wimmera District 
at that point, and forming a bay on the edge of this desert, was first 

1 From this circumstance, the spring is called by the aborigines "koortiup," their word for 
a rock. 

* The overseer, 3Ir. Jenkins, was tried before 3Ir. Justice a'Beckett for this in the beginning 
of 1849, and discharged. 

This document is not signed, but is endorsed in Mr. La Trobe's handwriting " Mr. 
Clow" that is, J. M. Clow. ED. 

4 Called Balerook by the natives, and No. 75 on Ham's map. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 109 

occupied under pastoral lease by me in the month of May 1847. 
It is of the finest description of sheep country, very openly tim- 
bered, but scantily watered. It is dotted with swamps of no great 
depth, but the bottom being of tenacious clay, they, except in the 
droughty seasons, now contain sufficient water for the wants of the 
stock, since they have been, when dry, well trodden by the sheep 
grazing on them. 

I found the sole aboriginal occupants of that isolated tract to 
be one man of great muscular strength and proportions, his three 
women and two children. The custom of each head of a family 
being by inheritance or conquest the acknowledged proprietor of 
a certain tract of the territory of the tribe to whose chief he owned 
allegiance (over which the others were understood to hunt by 
sufferance from him) I found to prevail amongst the Wimmera 
and Lake Hindmarsh tribes. What I took up as a run was his 
portion of it. 

Although this native, whom I shall call "Geordie" (his English 
name), as I forget his aboriginal name, was apparently on the best 
of terms with his tribe, yet they hinted that it was his prowess, 
not right, that maintained him in possession of such a large tract of 
their territory and more than his share of the women, when there 
were so many without one whereby hangs a tale of the deep 
treachery which they exercised a few months after my arrival to 
dispossess him of both ; and all was so well planned that he did not 
seem to have the least apprehension of any impending danger. 

One evening, some fifteen or twenty men of the tribe arrived at 
my station from the direction of Tattiara, whither they stated they 
had been to procure the rods of a water plant with which they 
form the heads of their spears, bundles of which they had with 
them in their crude state, and they were on their return to the 
lake. They appeared to be very much fatigued with their day's 
journey, and very soon encamped, about 300 yards from our 
huts having first prevailed on Geordie, who was encamped within 
50 yards of us, to join them at their encampment, which he did 
without reluctance, as they showed him a good deal of deference, 
more from the position of lord, which his prowess had acquired 
for him, than as vassal to their chieftain (who was amongst the 

110 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

When I saw them lounging round their fires that night, they 
counterfeited their intentions so completely by laughing and 
joking with each other that I was quite unprepared for the 
tragedy of bloodshed which I witnessed on the following morn- 
ing. The first shades of daylight were just dawning when the 
shrieks of the women rang through the forest. On reaching the 
outside of the hut, I heard that peculiar sound 1 which the men 
utter when engaged in fighting when in the act of throwing any 
of their rude instruments of warfare. As the hour was the one 
usually chosen by a hostile tribe to make their onslaught of re- 
venge, I concluded that they had been attacked by the Tattiara 
blacks, who had perhaps followed them up quickly to square a 
debt of blood with them. By the time that I had dressed suffi- 
ciently to go and see the fight, all was hushed except the low 
wailing lamentations of some women, a sure indication that there 
lay a corpse. It being yet too dark to see in one tableau their 
camp and surrounding forest, I made for the wailing. On reach- 
ing the group, which consisted of two of Geordie's wives and two 
or three men who were winding a blanket round a corpse which 
was lying about half-way between their camp and my hut, the men 
preserved a determined silence to all my inquiries, and it was 
from the women that I ascertained the corpse was their late hus- 
band, and that he had been murdered by some of the men who 
had been encamped with him. He had been attacked by nine 
or eleven men at once, who, springing from their fires, poured their 
spears into him as he lay awake at his. He jumped from his lair 
(they said) and made for our huts, snapping the spears which were 
in his body close by the flesh, as I found to be the case on 
walking from the corpse to their camp, where the remnants lay 
on either side of his track. He had got about half-way before he 
received the mortal wounds from two jagged mallee spears, which 
now lay alongside of the corpse, and were covered with blood 
from point to tip, from their having been drawn through his body 
to get them out. As the two spear wounds did not cause instan- 
taneous death, they rushed in with their waddies, and gave the 
finishing stroke to the deed of blood. 

'A stranger can best form an Idea by trying to pronounce " Whur-r-r." 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. Ill 

By the time that the day had dawned the murderers had 
decamped, and were then many miles on their way to the lake, 1 
impatient to recite 2 to the council of war which had deputed them 
to the task the successful termination of the stratagem. Those 
who remained maintained that they had neither previous know- 
ledge of what was to take place that morning, nor participation 
in the murder, and the testimony of the women corroborated 
the statement that they took no part in it. In the small open 
plain where the corpse lay we interred it. My men dug 
a grave, and having secured the top well with stones, to pre- 
vent the wild dogs disinterring it, crowned its summit with the 
murdered man's spears and other instruments of war, which 

1 Lake Hindmarsh. 

- The aborigines of this island consider that when they can compass the death of a 
friend or foe by stratagem instead of in open warfare it enhances their standing as skilful 
warriors according to their notions of one. Previously to the country which lies on the 
Western side of the bay of Western Port (between what was at one time Manton's, and 
Allan's run) being occupied by squatters in the year 1835, the Gippsland blacks attacked 
some five-and-twenty of the Western Port tribe in the gray of the morning, and cut 
off every one of them. Their tombs consist of many cairns plainly visible to this day. 
When I went to reside at Dandenong in 1838, the blacks told me of the occurrence, and that 
they never had been able to avenge the wrong. Shortly after I settled amongst them I gave 
" Jack \Veatherly," one of the tribe, a double-barrelled gun to procure for me the lyre-bird. 
He was employed occasionally in this way when opportunity offered, and with practice 
became a very good shot. One day, without my expressing a wish for any more of the 
birds, he applied for a much larger supply of powder and shot than I had formerly given 
him at one time, stating that a large party of his tribe were going to procure lyre-birds, and 
promising me, after four or five days, no end of curiosities in the shape of birds of the air 
and denizens of the forest. As he had always satisfactorily accounted for what he had 
before, I gave him it without reluctance. The days lapsed into weeks, when he stalked up 
to the station, evidently elated with some success, which he was not long in telling me. 
After getting the gun, &c., he went to a council of war which was being held to take into 
consideration the glorious opportunity now presented to the tribe of avenging the onslaught 
I have alluded to above. The old men, who always shut their eyes and stopped their ears 
when they saw a gun being fired off, decreed that the powder and shot which had just 
been received from the various squatters on the ostensible plea of procuring lyre-birds, &c., 
should, by Jack Weatherly (who was appointed leader of the expedition) and those of his 
compeers who were proficient in the use of their guns, he buried in the skins of the wild 
blackfellows as they termed them (to show them the new mode of warfare they had adopted, 
and thus to prevent a recurrence of their visits) wild in contradistinction to the life of 
amity they themselves led with the white men. After four days' march through the barren 
mountains which separate Western Port District from Gippsland, they on the fifth day 
sighted the smoke of some fires on the skirts of the beautiful pastoral district there. 
On the following day, about mid-day, they surprised the camp, making prisoners of all in it, 
which consisted only of some old men and some children. They then went in search of the 
able-bodied men, whom they espied very busily engaged in fishing on the banks of a large 
river not far off. They managed to sneak upon them within ten or twenty yards, and then 
blazed into them, killing or severely wounding every one of them, seven in number. Those 
who escaped the first volley jumped into the river and swam across, but the second volley 
brought them all down. After cutting out their kidney fat, they took as much of the 
carcases as they could well carry on their return route, and having mustered their forces at the 
camp where they had captured the old men and children, they despatched them also, and 
then commenced their retreat. When they reached the first station on the Western Port side 
of the mountains, they still had portions of the legs and thighs of their enemies, which 
they had not consumed, but reserved for those of the tribe who were not present. Many 
maintain that the aborigines are not cannibals. They are not cannibals for the love of 
human flesh, but there are occasions when they do eat their enemies, as in the present 
instance, where they did it to render, according to their notions, the deed of retaliation 
more complete, and under an impression that partaking of the flesh of an enemy tended to 
confirm hatred and foster a passion for fresh deeds of vengeance. 

112 Letters from Victorian Pio'iieers. 

remained there till some sacrilegious white haud removed them. 
The three women and the orphan children left immediately after- 
wards. The men told me that it was the custom of their tribe 
for the women after the death of a husband to secrete themselves 
in the bush for a week or two, and that after a certain time (a week 
or two) they become the wives of the first man who finds them. 
My informant I saw afterwards in possession of one of them. 

The aborigines in this tract of country subsist chiefly on a 
variety of roots which are very abundant, opossums, small kan- 
garoos (called cumma) which frequent the edge of the mallee 
scrub, an occasional emu, the fruit or flower of the stunted honey- 
suckle (very prevalent in the desert), and manna in the autumn. 

When, the hot weather prevails, birds are easily caught by them 
in the following manner : They conceal themselves in an arbour of 
boughs, close to the small remnants of surface water, or at wells, 
and snare the birds by laying a gin (attached to the eud of a 
rod) where the birds must or are most likely to stand when they 
come to drink. Having secured their victim, they draw the rod in, 
and by having the same snare attached to the end of the rod, they 
can set it again without leaving the arbour or frightening other 
birds away by showing themselves. 

While at this station I made several excursions into the large 
desert, with the view of discovering new tracts of pastoral country. 
We first went in a westerly direction. After proceeding about 
fifteen miles into it from the side next my run, we came to a steep 
ridge of sand-hills, about 200 or 300 feet above the adjacent 
desert. The surface of them was composed of nothing but loose 
drift-sand, and they were covered with a few stunted bushes. 
When on the summit they appeared to be a chain of hills running 
from where we ascended them northerly as far as the eye could 
reach. To the westward we saw nothing but an unbroken ex- 
panse, for the next twelve or fifteen miles, of the same dreary wil- 
derness that lay around us. Some months afterwards, when 70 
miles further north, on the course of the Wimmera, we again 
struck a westerly course, and encountered the same chain of hills, 
still possessing the same features, and bearing in the same direc- 
tion. Interspersed but very distant from each other, on this 
desert, are oases of a few acres, where the eucalyptus and other 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 113 

trees grow, with a fair sprinkling of grass. As the soil of them is 
very clayey, it was only on them that we found surface water to 
drink. The whole eastern extent of it is a loose white sand, covered 
chiefly with a very prickly grass, which grows in large tufts, and 
is so stiff in the blade that it causes the horses' legs to bleed as 
they travel over it ; also with stunted mallee, and a very diminu- 
tive species of the honeysuckle tree, the flowers of which the 
natives crush and steep in water, in order to obtain what is to them 
a sweet and nourishing drink. The emu and the lowan are the 
only birds of size on it. The former frequents the open desert, 
the latter the mallee thickets. A remarkable feature of this small 
portion of country I observed to be that it blew a strong fresh 
breeze both day and night, beloAV which it seldom moderated, but 
occasionally increased to a tornado. One swept along with de- 
vastating fury in the month of December the same year. It passed 
over an out-station, snapping even trees of two and three feet 
diameter in two, about five or six feet from the ground, and lop- 
ping off the boughs of those it did not carry down. The tent in 
which the men were living was carried off into the swamp about 
half a mile, and few of the pannikins and plates were found again. 
It seemed to be confined to about half a mile in width. Owing to 
the constant current of air, I never saw any dews while there. 

As most of the Wimmera District was settled the year before 
I went there, I cannot give a correct statement of the deportment of 
the aborigines to the squatters when the latter first took possession 
of the territory. With regard to Geordie's behaviour on the 
occasion of my taking up the run, he attempted a day or two after 
our arrival to disarm one of the hut-keepers while in the hut with 
him, but failed, and luckily the man had presence of mind not to 
shoot him. We saw no more of him for two or three weeks. 
When he came back he seemed ashamed of having violated the 
confidence we had reposed in him, ridiculed his attempt on the 
hut-keeper, and apparently had made up his mind to have his little 
territory invaded by the sheep. At shearing time I found him and 
the other blacks very useful, placing all the flocks in their charge, 
as I was obliged from a scarcity of shearers in that out-of-the-way 
place to employ all the shepherds in shearing the sheep. I 
never found them to have appropriated any to their own use. 

114 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

I sold this run (which I called " Balerook," from the desert on 
which it lay) to Mr. George Urquhart in the following December. 
It has subsequently passed from his hands to Mr. Broughton, the 
present holder. Its registered extent is 50 square miles. It is 
bounded by the runs of Major Firebrace (formerly Grant's), Mason, 
and Little. 

No. 18. 1 

Arrived, by order of General Sir Richard Bourke, at Geelong 
in 1847, where, according to the General's directions, I was to 
take an absconded felon on my staff. This man had been a 
resident near Geelong for 33 years, and was therefore well 
acquainted with all the natives in that locality. My orders from 
the General being to assemble as many of the natives as possible, 
for the purpose of knowing their numbers in this part, due 
notice was given, and we succeeded in making a large muster 
of 275 of all classes men, women, and children. The General 
sent bales of blankets, slop clothing, dresses for the females, shoes, 
and a large quantity of flour and tea, and two dozen of toma- 
hawks (not issued, but thrown into Moorabool River). These 
articles were all divided amongst the natives. Unfortunately, a few 
blankets were deficient, whereupon the native men unprovided set 
up a yell, and became almost frantic, a state of things which 
instantaneously became general, and the assembly demanded more 
and more every minute. Fearing bad results from my visitors, 
from their general demeanour and manner, and becoming some- 
what apprehensive, I ordered my two constables to load, and 
my ten convicts to fall in close to my hut. The natives saw this 
preparation, and I kept some distance from them with my double- 
barrel gun, accompanied by Mr. Patrick McKeever, district con- 
stable, also armed ; it had the effect of making the natives 
retire, the interpreter Buckley telling them to do so. I 

1 This paper is not signed, but has evidently been written by Captain Foster Fyans. ED. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 115 

was exceedingly happy at the result, not having the slightest 
trust in Buckley; and I may now add, my conviction is that the 
natives assembled wishing an opportunity to murder every per- 
son in the place. After this escape I never permitted more than 
a few to approach the place, when they were kindly treated and 
provided with some salt pork, which was not such a delicacy as 
mutton, but fresh meat was not to be had, and sheep were ex- 
tremely dear and scarce. 

A few days followed. I saw a native in a rage take a child 
giving it many blows, and eventually catching it by the leg, 
and battering its head against a gum-tree. This was on the 
opposite range of the river. On my arrival at the spot (which 
took some considerable time, on account of the river winding so 
much), when I reached the tree I found evident marks that the 
child had been killed, and taken from the place, but there was 
not one native to be seen. 

A station at the Leigh was attacked ; two men in charge de- 
fended a few hundred sheep, driving them before them to another 
station. I saw some four natives that had been shot dead. I 
investigated the affray, and gave much credit to the men for their 
good conduct. 

Buninyong, only 50 miles from Geelong, was thought a great 
discovery. Some few of the settlers removed to that locality, 
where many disturbances took place. Shepherds were murdered 
and sheep stolen. On numerous occasions I have had to visit the 
place, on complaint of the settlers, and also that I might have it 
in my power to gain information as to the reported depredations 
of the natives. I felt convinced of these depredations, and gene- 
rally found the origin of theft and murder was from an over-inti- 
macy on both sides the women ruling, depraved, and bad ; so 
much of this existed that there was hardly a shepherd without 
disease. Large families of natives husband, wife, boys, and 
girls were eaten up with venereal disease. The disorder was 
an introduction from V. D. Land, and I am of opinion that 
two-thirds of the natives of Port Phillip have died from this 

During 1837-8-9, as the country began to be occupied, I had 
many journeys to stations, of from 40 to 50 miles, Colac and 

11G Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Buninyong being the most distant. In all my investigations I 
found where life was lost that blame was attributable to both sides 
to the jealousy of the native and over-intimacy of the hut -keeper 
or shepherd, who was one day feeding the natives and the day 
following beating and driving them from the pl,ace. 

In 1840 I was made Commissioner of Crown Lands. I had 
eighteen troopers. These men were soldiers who were sentenced 
by court-martial (when serving in America), for desertion, to trans- 
portation to N. S. Wales. I never met with a more orderly or 
steady set of men ; they had their horses always in good order, 
and were ready and willing to perform their duty. No pay was 
allowed by Government, and their only remuneration was the 
common ration. For the seven years I held the office of. Com- 
missioner of Crown Lands I had only one man who left me. He 
deserted to Adelaide. Every man I had could have followed him, 
and that, too, well mounted. I am glad to say, to their credit, not 
a man followed his example. 

In 1839 the squatters in Portland Bay District were very 
limited in number, not exceeding a dozen. In 1840 very few joined 
them, and the revenue in licenses did not exceed 150. In 1842 
the district began to become of some notice, and a vast number of 
most respectable establishments appeared. In 1843 and 1844 the 
district was rapidly filling ; and during 1845 and 1846 there were 
four hundred licenses granted in a country almost without a 
European in it in 1839 and nearly as large as England. Mr. 
Gisborne was the Commissioner of Crown Lands for Port 
Phillip, which was divided when I was appointed. I may remark 
on the Portland Bay District knowing it for years, and having 
ridden over it some thirty-four thousand miles that a finer or a more 
beautiful country cannot be. There are parts sandy and barren, but 
generally the ground is useful, many parts possessing great advan- 
tages for pastoral purposes, and many bits of ground being fitted 
for immediate agricultural purposes, I may safely say, without an 
outlay for grubbing a tree so different from New South Wales, 
where every one cleared is attended with a serious expense. The 
district is exceedingly well provided with water ; many of the 
waterholes are everlasting, and there are besides reaches of rivers 
and many fine and valuable springs. 

letters from Victorian Pioneers. 117 

In 1839, by order of Sir George Gipps, I left Geelong to 
proceed to Portland Bay. I was allowed three mounted police 
and seven horses. Mr. Smyth, of the Survey Department, had 
orders to attend me. The distance is about 220 miles. At that 
time the squatting stations were chiefly about the towns. We 
proceeded, bringing provisions on a pack-horse. We experienced 
great difficulties and obstructions. In many instances we had to 
return for miles, the country being impassable, and seek another 
route. We were two days endeavouring to cross a stony range, 
and had to return to Mount Eeles, without water. We found 
ourselves surrounded by, I suppose, 150 natives, following us with 
their spears, yelling and brandishing their waddies. On leaving 
the range we halted at a tea-tree scrub, where we found water. We 
Avere cooking some pannikins of tea when we heard the native cooey 
in every direction ; this subsided ; I suspected that the natives were 
close to us. I walked down the creek with my gun, first ordering 
the men to stand to their horses. I returned and told Smyth that 
the creek, I thought, was full of natives. We took some tea, 
mounted, and rode about 50 yards, when a formidable number, at 
least 150 natives, jumped from the brushwood in the creek, making 
after us for some miles. We escaped them, and we met others, but 
none would approach us. No inducement could persuade them. 
We chased one, to endeavour to make him find water for us near 
Mount Rouse ; he ran fast, and got to a tree, climbing it like a mon- 
key, and letting fly behind on some of the party as he ascended, 
to his utmost satisfaction. We were eighteen days before we 
reached Portland after leaving Port Fairy. On our left we met 
many obstructions on the flat grounds and large swamps in that part 
of the country, which is intersected so much by two small rivers, 
that with difficulty, after some days of consultation as to what we 
should do (as our stores were all expended) whether to push on 
or return, we came to a determination to endeavour to gain the 
high ground, which we fortunately did on that evening. After 
spending a truly miserable night, with nothing to eat, plenty of 
rain, and a good fire, we were glad at daylight to proceed again, 
when, to our great joy, we saw a vessel at anchor in the bay. We 
descended towards the beach, when our hearts failed us. We were 
pulled up by a large river in front of us. Another consultation 

118 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

took place, when one of the policemen said, " Let us go on to 
the sea." In the former instance Smyth thought to keep up the 
river was our only plan, which we did. Smyth swam across 
with a sabre in his mouth, and got on the sand-hills, whence he 
could see the river, which close to the sea became a large lagoon. 
On returning, he explained it was useless to follow down ; therefore 
the party kept up, following the river, and rounding some large 
lagoons. In the second instance we took the advice of an old 
policeman ; we reached the beach where a hard sand answered as 
a good road. Had we in the first instance travelled down to the 
beach, we could have crossed in like manner, for the river in this 
neighbourhood has an entrance into the sea. We reached Port- 
land in a few hours, receiving a hearty welcome from Messrs. 
Henty, who kept a whaling establishment, and were the only 
residents in the place. I had His Excellency's order to make 
some investigations, and, after a rest of three days, our party pro- 
ceeded towards the Glenelg, to a station held by Messrs. Henty 
and the Messrs. Winter, on the Wando River. After finishing 
my business in two days, we purchased some provisions to carry 
with us on our return home. After crossing the Wannon River, we 
made a new route, almost east ; and we met with no kind of obstruc- 
tion, and were only one day without water. We reached Geelong 
on the fifth day after leaving the Glenelg. I may remark during 
this journey we did not meet with any natives ; the country was 
desolate and uninhabited, and was covered with rich kangaroo 
grass three and four feet high. At that time I considered the 
country beautiful, particularly in passing Mount Sturgeon and the 
long range of conical hills for many miles towards what is now called 
Mount William. We passed Terrinallum Hill, now called Mount 
Elephant. Since the journey, I have again visited all these parts. 
On the hill Mount Sturgeon a large stone sits in a cradle ; one or 
two of my policemen moved the stone ; it is nearly round. Terrin- 
allum has a large crater, like every other hill in this part ; also 
basins, some of them of great depth and two and three miles in cir- 
cumference. Three great beauties of the kind are close to Timboon. 
The country between Timboon and the Hopkins River would 
remind any person lately from home of a nobleman's park, with the 
expectation of coming soon to a magnificent house. Many a 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 119 

dreary ride I have had over this magnificent, splendid country, 
lying waste and idle, with an odd flock of sheep here and there 
and fine, fat bullocks with hundreds of square miles to roam over. 
This land, for agricultural purposes, none can surpass, and it 
would maintain thousands and thousands of people by common 
industry, with a yearly surplus of grain, enough to feed the entire 
population of Victoria to this 17th day of August 1853. It lies, 
as formerly for years, in the hands of a few squatters at the 
nominal yearly rental of a squatting license, which is nothing like 
the value of the ground. 

The country for many miles about Colac nothing can sur- 
pass in its fine, rich soil. The lake is in circumference about, I 
suppose, 14 miles. A few years ago it became almost dry. 
On visiting it, it was my opinion that it would in a few years be- 
come a large swamp. Of late years it has regained its waters, so 
much so in May 1852, that its banks were overflowed the 
water rushing over the plains into the Barwon and Leigh, and 
causing the wonderful flood on the 20th May 1852. At Geelong 
the Barwon River rose about twelve feet higher than the highest 
flood experienced since my arrival in 1837, destroying a vast deal 
of property, and carrying the bridge away on Barwon River, 
Geeloug, and also several others. 

The squatting population consists of such various classes of 
persons that it is impossible to speak of it as a body. Many of the 
squatters are gentlemen, worthy and excellent men, of undoubted 
character and well connected at home. Mount Emu is a beautiful 
country. A noble pack of hounds was kept up by gentlemen 
squatters who met every season, hunting twice and thrice a week, 
and meeting at each other's houses, where good cheer and good 
and happy society were ever to be met. I have sat down with 
thirty gentlemen at Mr. Goldsmith's to an excellent dinner given 
by that gentleman. There was an ample provision of all that 
was good set before his guests, who, one and all, had hearty 
and joyful faces, talking of to-morrow and the day's sport before 
them. We retired to rest on our shakedowns on the floor at eleven 
o'clock ; at daybreak the master of the hounds, a squatter, 
sounded his bugle ; shortly after, his second, for breakfast ; and in 
half an hour his third bugle, when a fine pack of dogs let loose 

120 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

from the kennel appeared, full of life and glee, led away by the 
well-known master of the hounds, Compton Ferrers, followed by 
thirty Avell-mounted gentlemen squatters. The game was not far 
distant. In half an hour we came on the scent of a native dog ; 
he had a long start ; the pack took up the scent, and followed 
breast high; the ground was rather moist ; some horsemen were 
thrown out ; but there were twenty in at the death, after passing 
over sixteen miles of ground without one check. The wild dog 
is noble sport ; and as to the day I speak of, I doubt even if 
Leicestershire ever turned out a better pack or a better set of 
sportsmen in a field during a season. 

On the following day I had the pleasure of again meeting the 
same party, and on many occasions after this. I may now remark, 
in a country like this, where dissipation prevails, among this class 
of gentlemen squatters in no instance did any man exceed, or 
forget that he was a gentleman. 

Another class of squatters is a kind of shop-boys. A plain man 
can barely approach them. They have wonderful sources of 
wealth and comfort, with dirty huts and no comfort, but with 
plenty of pipe-smoking, grumbling, and discontent. For seasons a 
hut would be just the same on one side of the door you will see 
an aged tobacco plant; there is no garden no vegetables, but 
bones, rotten sheep skins, and filth in plenty. Inside the door there 
was often a large hole in the mud floor worn by the heels of persons 
going in, and, if not aware of this, ten to one that you had a chance 
of upsetting the table, tin-dishes, and greasy mutton chops. As 
to beds, this gentry are not particular. I lay on one for hours in 
great torment, tired and wishing for sleep ; I envied five or six who 
were snoring close about me. Sleep I could not, from something 
hard and long under my loins. I took my knife, cut the sacking, 
when I pulled out the leg of a sheep with a long- piece of the hide 
as crisp as a toast. Here is a country yielding all that man can 
require for only a little labour. It abounds in a class who care for 
nothing excepting self-interest. For years they have the same 
hut ; not so much as a drop of milk ; for breakfast, hysonskin, 
mutton chops swimming in fat, and damper ; damper and fat 
chops for dinner ; hysonskin and the same for supper. No 
deviation even in lent. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 121 

Another class consists of old shepherds. I have known this class 
to grow rich, the master poor, and in time the worthy would become 
the licensed squatter. I have known many of them to become 
wealthy, and some who did not forget themselves ; but most 
were out of their places, and it would have been better for the 
community had they remained shepherds rather than become 
masters. Litigation is a favourite rule, and almost anything can 
be gained by an overwhelming evidence. 

I stated that on my arrival I mustered 275 natives. So many 
years have passed over that at the present day, August 22nd 1853, 
I feel assured that not more than twenty aborigines are living 
about Geelong. Some were children when I came, and within 
the lapse of these few years have become aged and decrepit. The 
life of the aborigines cannot be of long duration ; and I am of 
opinion longevity is unknown. Balyang was held up to be more 
respected than any native in this place ; he was remarkable for 
his good conduct, decency, and good order ; he was very polite, con- 
stantly sending presents of oysters and bustards. He was a par- 
ticular friend of mine. By some means he became possessed of an 
old musket, of which I on many occasions told him to be careful, 
or he would shoot himself, urging that it would be better for 
him to use his spear and boomerang. He laughed, saying the gun 
was better. This remarkably fine old man went to the Werribee 
River to shoot bustards. As he was one morning leaving his miam, 
on pulling the gun, the lock went off, and the contents of the charge 
went through his body. He died in a few minutes, leaving some 
three wives and four young boys. One of the boys is still living 
in Geelong or the neighbourhood. He cannot be more than nine- 
teen or twenty years of age ; but for a stranger to look at him he 
must consider him an old man. Woolmudgen was always with 
his relative, old Balyang, until the latter died, when he lived with 
Mr. Fisher for some years. He was taken care of, and well provided 
for on the establishment, his father having been killed, and his 
old friend Balyang gone, so that he remained almost an 
inmate. As he grew rapidly, he became a man in a few years ; 
his habits changed; he withdrew himself for weeks ; on returning 
he would only laugh at all questions put to him, saying " The 
bush better than house, plenty of grubs good as mutton." Of 

122 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

clothes he had always a good supply, but when he left in the morning 
well dressed, if he returned in the afternoon he was always naked. 
He placed no value on anything. The latter days of this youth 
(he was about twenty years of age) were spent in drunkenness and 
riot. He was nearly six feet high, a powerful and strong man, 
but disease and filth gave him the appearance of age. He died 
nearGeelong from inflammation. Bon Jon, another of old Balyang's 
tribe, lived with me for some four years. He was a stout lad, 
very civil and useful. He always attended me in the bush, and 
was often with me for a space of three or four months, going from 
one station to another, and during that time never seeing one of his 
tribe. I was passing Colac, and remained at Mr. Murray's for the 
night. The Colac tribe had a camp near at hand. Some seven men, 
accompanied by a couple of women, came to us, covered with white 
paint a death warning, the women's faces torn and bleeding, the 
men carrying spears, langeels, and waddies. One spoke to Mr. 
Murray. Mr. Murray immediately told me their intention, viz., 
" to kill my boy, Bon Jon." Pointing to the men, I told the boy r 
who, in a cool way replied, " I know it ; I am ready for them," 
letting out a volley of abuse at the party. Taking his pistol, and 
cocking it, "Come on Merrijig," he cried to the doctor, who came 
for the purpose of extracting Bon Jon's kidney fat. He defied 
all. For safety, I made my boy stay inside the house all night. 
The natives remained lurking about for an opportunity to murder 
him. This animosity was caused by the death of a Colac native, 
which happened at a corrobboree near Geelong ; it was, therefore, 
needful that a Geelong native should die. On the following 
morning a numerous collection presented themselves, demanding 
Bon Jon, with a promise not to kill him, but merely to extract the 
kidney fat. I asked him if he would be satisfied to undergo 
the operation. " Me give," said he, " if you wish it," showing his 
pistol's clean new flints, and his sabre as bright and sharp as a 
razor. All he required from me was liberty to have a quarrel on the 
ground. We mounted and left. About two miles from Colac we 
met some natives on their way to Colac from the Mission Station. 
Approaching us, and seeing Bon Jon, they were quite taken 
aback, and ran from us immediately ; in fact, the party were on 
their way to partake of Bon Jon's kidney fat, and femoral bits. 

Letters from Victorian Pioiieers. 12 3 

The boy was very brave ; in fact, he had no fear ; he begged me 
to let him "only kill one with the big knife," stating that he 
would not fire, and pointing out one who had a fine lubra, saying, 
" If you let me kill him, I'll get his wife." I had on many oc- 
casions tried the courage of this savage boy. Near Port Fairy, 
in 1843, a shepherd was most barbarously murdered by natives, 
which attracted the attention of the police. I was out for many 
days with a party of seventeen mounted border police. The 
weather was cold and wet, and we suffered in many ways. 
We were on horseback from daylight to night, examining all the 
creeks and stony lands between Port Fairy and Eumeralla. We 
spent ten days in this way, and not a black did we fall in with. 
We were compelled to give up, owing to want of provisions and 
sickness. On the following morning, accompanied by Bon Jon, 
we set out to seek a passage for our dray, in order to get away. We 
went about seven miles, and, meeting with great obstacles, returned 
in another direction, finding a far better country. When we came 
within two miles of our camp, on turning a tea-tree copse, we 
met a most powerful native, and on asking questions, he 
related to Bon Jon that the clothes he had on belonged to the 
dead man at Mr. Ritchie's. It was a wet day. Bon Jon said 
" This is the fellow that we have been looking for." Again 
asking him if he had been at Mr. Ritchie's, and inquiring about 
the man and clothes, we are confirmed ; we threw our cloaks 
off; the native dashed his spear through and through Bon Jon's. 
Bon Jon pulled out his pistol, snapped it, and missed fire ; 
pulled out his sabre and dashed after him, when horse and all fell 
among the rocks and stones in a deep gully. We did all in our 
power to apprehend this savage, but we could not ; he had four 
spears, langeel, and shield ; with one blow he dashed the sharp 
end of the langeel through my horse's nose ; as we came up with 
him, the tribe threw many spears at us, making off ; the man was 
left to us. Jumping on a large mound of rocks and loose stones, 

he howled out, " Come on, white b ," at the same time 

throwing his last spear at Bon Jon. He was not to be seen in a. 
second. This native went into Port Fairy some days after, showing 
his shield with the sabre cuts on it. Some months after this, at 
Geelong, Bon Jon became quite changed ; he no longer had a wish 

124 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

to follow me or Avear his dress. Away with his tribe constantly, 
he came to me occasionally; he still had a strong grudge against the 
Colac tribe ; he came to me one day saying, " One Colac fellow 
down here with a gin," and that he would kill him. I desired him 
not. He was as good as his word. He loaded a carbine, followed 
the unhappy black with his gun, and shot him dead. Bon Jon 
and the gin, who was now occupying his time and attention, 
<jame back, and eat, drank, and were merry. Hearing of the 
murder, I had Bon Jon apprehended ; he was quite indignant, 
asking me if I had forgotten the tribe at Colac that wanted his 
kidney fat. Bon Jon was tried before Judge Willis, a most dis- 
reputable old rip, who I think was in consort with the devil, for, 
though the evidence was clear, Bon Jon was most honourably ac- 
quitted, and handed over to another booby of fame, old Robinson, 
a Native Protector, to be educated and told not to break the com- 
mandments. Bon Jon was killed shortly after this in a scurry 
with some natives at a corrobboree. Over the body of the Colac 
native an inquest was held. I took Woolmudgeu to see the re- 
mains. On showing him the head, the back part of the skull being 
carried away, he wept bitterly, and threw himself on the ground, 
roaring and screaming ; for many days he appeared in sad distress, 
and long and many a time he spoke of the deed to me, always 
repeating the words " poor blackfellow." These natives are all 
dead now, and, as far as I can learn, only one remains of poor old 
Balyang's friends. From long experience, particularly in Portland 
Bay District, I am convinced that the number of aborigines in 
1837 in this district could not exceed 3,000, and I feel thoroughly 
convinced the race will be extinct in 20 years or less. In the 
district I met a native, his breast, arms, and body muscular, and 
in fine proportions ; his legs were like fins, and not larger than 
those of an infant. This poor cripple followed his tribe, travel- 
ling many miles during the day ; he sat in a piece of bark tied 
round his loins. 

Emus and kangaroos on our arrival were plentiful in all parts 
of the district ; also bustards in large flocks of from ten to thirty 
or forty, or perhaps more. The bustards now are scarce, and only 
met with in distant places. The kangaroo and emu are nearly 
extinct in the district ; the country is almost void of game. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 125 

Quails in years gone by were plentiful, but I think are fast dis- 
appearing ; snipe we have in the season, but not in the same 
abundance as in other countries ; we have also the painted snipe, 
the same bird that is met with in all parts of India; black ducks, 
large, and a delicacy ; also various small ducks, and wood ducks 
&c. ; the bronzewing pigeon, a fine game bird, fully equal to an 
English partridge; black swans useless and ugly; snakes of many 
descriptions, and some exceedingly bold more so than I have 
known them in India. The longest snake I have met did 
not exceed six feet. For an idler or a sportsman, this country 
affords nothing, and for a military officer it is the most damnable 
quarter in the world. There is nothing in the shape of sport 
except in the season a few snipe and quail ; then it ends until the 
next September. At the approach of the snipe season, when you 
seek your " Forsyth" or "Joe Manton," to brush it up for the 
sport, it is more than probable that you will seek in vain, for some 
good and trusty servant has made it his own. Borrowing (as it is 
termed) these implements is common, but once taken by this class 
of gentry from your house they are never regained. 

Of all the impositions inflicted on mankind an inn in the district 
is the most dreadful abomination. It appears to me the licensee 
considers only one duty, that is, to persecute and victimize the 
traveller. The law makes provision for decency, but the land- 
lord disregards it after a license is granted ; his sole object is 
money not to make it honestly by a return of common comfort; 
his bill is the object, and pay it you must, though five hundred 
per cent, is overcharged. What could a man have in any part 
of England staying at a hotel for a night, if he expended 2? I 
should think such an outlay amongst the middle classes would be 
unknown, but in Victoria the 2 would not afford you a " nobbier." 
You have to put up with the curses of an ill-looking ruffian the 
landlord who heartily wishes that you never again trouble him, as 
he is not over-fond of gentlemen beggars. The landlord is- 
generally to be seen playing quoits in front of the hut with a pipe 
in his mouth, cursing and swearing, and surrounded by half a 
dozen idle, drunken men the stable-keeper always sticking close 
to his master, to swear by him, right or wrong, for a nobbier. These 
games amuse some travellers, for a fight is generally the result ; and 

126 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

in almost all instances, as one passes through the country, the land- 
lord sports a black-eye or two. The interior of the hut is gene- 
rally built of wood and weatherboards; the floor is boarded, and a 
fine rattling breeze rushes in at all parts. Your company is 
not very refined all smoking, spitting, singing loudly, and rioting ; 
cursing and damning Governors, and formerly Crown Lands Com- 
missioners. Horse races for saddles and bridles, and cockfights, 
are got up; you are told of fine bullock-drivers, and that Tim 
was the fellow to shear sheep, with flat contradictions now and 
again, which nearly lead to a bout, but often to the destruction of 
the landlord's all, in the shape of half a dozen wine glasses, and his 
large assortment of tin pannikins. In short, one of these licensed 
huts may be turned inside out during the row, and be nothing the 
worse for it on the following morning. A fortune is realized soon 
in one of these district hotels; and, when made, the landlord sells 
his good-will of the place, always to a very good man in short the 
best man in the world who, once installed, is soon found to be a 
deeper vagabond than the former. These huts, though built on 
Government land, are private property transferred from one to 
another ; many pay for the good-will 800, the house not being in 
value worth 30. 1,000 is commonly paid down, and I have 
known 1,500 paid in cash for a hut of this kind. 

The stable, as it is called, is a place tossed up of all manner 
of things ; it has a kind of a roof, with slab sides of the 
rudest material, and is often dangerous in passing, from old spike 
nails and broken bottles ; dung and filth are there a foot or two 
deep ; at the head of the stall is an old gin case fixed as a manger 
for oaten hay. If you neglect your poor horse, not a bite of straw 
will he get ; and if you order some oats to feed him, the hostler is 
generally nimble in getting and giving ; he on this occasion is more 
than civil, as a profit falls to him, the corn being generally found 
by him, and the more profit the better for him. This worthy has 
his measure, and fills it to the brim ; at the bottom he has his 
thumb-hole, whereby he deposits the best part back for himself. A 
man who has a horse has almost to fight for his grub, paying dear 
for it. At the present time the expenses of a night for one horse 
at a bush inn will cost the owner twenty shillings. A licensed 
man keeping a bush inn can charge as he thinks fit ; but his 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


great game formerly, before the gold-fields, was the shepherd or 
hut-keeper on his way to town with his cheque for perhaps a 
year or two years' wages. This unfortunate man was generally 
overwhelmed with kindness, made drunk, and kept so for three, 
four, or five days ; on regaining his senses, he naturally seeks his 
hard earnings, which are not to be found ; he applies to the land- 
lord, who tells him that he is in debt ; that the 60 is expended. 
On asking how " How ?"repeats the host, "do you forget the shout 
you stood the shout for all hands ?" " You are in my debt now 5, 
and I shall keep your gun and pack until I am paid," says the land- 
lord, pushing the unhappy fellow from his door perhaps without 
a rag to his back. For a new colony, only eighteen years in- 
habited, I consider that there is more vice than is to be found in 
any part of the world. 

On my arrival in Melbourne in 1837, Captain Lonsdale, 4th 
K. 0. Regiment, was police magistrate, having a guard of soldiers 
some 40 men. The Captain had a very small wooden hut ; 
the military, one nearly as bad. The few houses about are un- 
worthy of notice, excepting the police office. This was a square 
building or nearly so ; the walls were sods, and the roof was covered 
with sods, without windows or a door. From this rude state of 
things and a lapse of sixteen years, the town of Melbourne has 
become a large, a populous, and almost an overgrown city, with 
a population of 80,000, and the surrounding country for miles 
covered with houses. In the annals of history nothing equals the 
rapid progress of this wonderful place. 

The great mistake my good and worthy friend Sir Richard 
Bourke made is in not placing Melbourne where Geelong is. 

s. d. 

Oaten hay, sold at 

35 a ton 


1 10,, bushel 


30 ton 


1 15 per bag 


007,, pound 




two guineas, or three on some days. 

Firewood, cost 

rom 4 to 5 a load. 

Cart horses, so 

d at 120 to 150 ; saddle horses, 50 to 80. 




5s. per dozen. 


2s. 6d. each. 

A servant cost 60 yearly. 

128 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

In 1848 : 

Twelve fine legs of mutton sold at five shillings. 

Beef (prime), at l^d. per pound ; mutton, less. 

Oaten hay, at 3 per ton. 

Oats, at 2s. 6d. per bushel. 

Potatoes, at 4s. per hundred. 

Turkeys, at 3s. 6d. each. 

Fowls -were to be had for nothing. 

Eggs, at 6d. per dozen 

Good horses sold from 10 to 30. 

Goats, at 2s. 

Cabbages, at six for a shilling. 

Firewood, at 7s. a load. 

A servant in house cost 18 yearly. 

As to Geelong with many advantages over Melbourne, it is 
exceedingly backward. The trade of this place compared with 
Melbourne is a mere nothing ; our merchants are few, but good 
honest sterling men ; but, suffering as they do, great discontent pre- 
vails. Our ships and our letters generally go first to Melbourne ; 
the only obstacle to our shipping is the bar. For years and years 
application has been made by the inhabitants to the Government 
for assistance in clearing it away. Not one shilling has been ex- 
pended, excepting by the inhabitants, who have paid surveyors' 
expenses time after time. Their work hangs in an office, and the 
bar remains untouched, and is very likely to remain so for long 
and many a day. If this bar was removed, and shipping came up 
to the town, Geelong must become a place of vast importance. It 
has a fine harbour, and great advantages over Melbourne. That 
most excellent Governor-General Sir R. Bourke, made a choice, 
and placed Melbourne where it stands. He also visited Geelong. 
He was delighted with the place and country ; he remained fourteen 
days, and having confirmed the site of Melbourne, I suppose he did 
not wish to alter it. This is to be lamented, for if Melbourne had 
been placed where Geelong stands, it would become as beauti- 
ful a city as is in the world. The locality is pleasing, cheerful, 
beautiful, and healthful, with a fine rising situation ; the scenery 
grand and magnificent. Melbourne does not possess one of these 
advantages, lying low, with bad approaches on every side. Geelong 
increases but slowly. A few years ago the census gave a popula- 
tion of seven thousand, but at the present time there must be a 
population of twenty-five thousand, which daily increases from all 
parts of the world. Notwithstanding the mixture of people, the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 129 

place is exceedingly orderly. We have four small steamboats be- 
tween this and Melbourne daily, making fortunes for their owners; 
large vessels lie at Point Henry, four miles across the bay; but 
small vessels, under 300 tons, come to the jetty and discharge. 
The chief trade of the town until the times changed so much on 
account of the gold mania was wool, tallow, and hides. Wool 
was a considerable item in the shipments. From 25,000 to 30,000 
bales were embarked yearly at Point Henry, in large ships from 
700 to 2,000 tons; but from the effects of the gold mines I am of 
opinion that a great decrease will take place in the shipments of 
this article. 

You are aware of all the gold-fields the ruin of the colony. 

I shall never forget Mr. Wentworth (the watch-house is not 
fitted for a gentleman) and his bow to His Honour the Superinten- 
dent, who was sitting in the corner of the slab hut on a stool with 
three legs ; His Honour's graceful recognition of the salute His 
Honour rising with dignity, when the stool upset, making a noise, 
to the disgust of Mr. Pat. McKeever, chief constable of Little Ped- 
dlington ; the death of the black horse, the vet. doctor, the C.C.L. 
giving copious glisters and bleeding ; His Honour sighing; the vet. 
privately telling him there is no hope; the burial in paddock, with 
a case of bricks to the memory of the departed. 

I remember well the doctor coming to the hut when we were at 
dinner. " Here comes that infernal rip "; doctor enters ; host 
rises to greet him; " How are you, doctor ? sit down, and par- 
take of something ; we are so glad to see you," with a hearty 
shake of the hand. 

No. 19. 

Stratford, 15th August 1853. 

In reply to your note, enclosing me His Excellency the Gover- 
nor's favour of the 29th July, and requiring my reply on Wednes- 
day at the latest, you give me but little time to collect my 
memory as to my first travels into this district, and certainly no 

130 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

time to enable me to address a letter to His Excellency upon the 
subject. I will therefore reply by giving you all the information 
I can bring to my memory, with the hope that you will put it in 
proper form, and at the same time express my regret at not being 
able myself to address His Excellency. 

The droughts of 1839, 1840, 1841 having caused great losses 
amongst our stock (sheep and cattle) at Wellington where I had 
the management of my father's stations, I had recommended a 
removal of a portion of the sheep to the northward, and had fully 
made up my mind for a trip to New England with at least half 
our sheep. Just at this time, early in 1842, I got in possession 
of a pamphlet published by Count Strzelecki, giving a description 
of Gippsland, and pointing out by a chart the route into it. This 
caused me to immediately arrange for the removal of a portion of 
our stock to Gippsland, and I had, in three weeks after seeing the 
work, eight thousand sheep on the road. I, however, had not 
started when I received information that Mr. Albert Brodribb had 
started from Bathurst, with a number of sheep belonging to Mr. 
Reeve, for the same destination (and I believe upon the same 
information the Count's work). 

I do not deem it required that I should enumerate all the 
casualties attending upon such a journey (say 700 miles), but 
suffice it to say that I arrived, after many difficulties, at the 
Mitchell River, Gippsland, upon the 20th June 1842, after a 
constant travel of four months, with my stock and working cattle 
in better condition than when I left Wellington. 

With regard to that portion of His Excellency's letter " If 
preceded, accompanied, or immediately followed, by whom and 
when, and the general state of the district around and in advance 
of me at that period " I beg to state Mr. Curlewis's and Mr. 
Reeve's sheep preceded me a few weeks. Messrs. Loughnan and 
Taylor, with sheep, cattle, and horses, joined company with me 
at Mancroo; Mr. F. Jones at Omeo; and we travelled in company 
to the Mitchell River. As to the state of the district around and 
in advance of me at the period of my arrival, I am only able to 
refer you to a copy of a letter I wrote upon my arrival at Mel- 
bourne, at Mr. Parker's request, for the information of Governor 
Gipps, as the only record of my first observations as to the state 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 131 

of Gippsland upon my arrival. Trusting that it may convey 
some of the information that Mr. La Trobe is requiring, I now 
conclude, begging that you will express my best wishes for His 
Excellency's safe arrival and happy meeting with his friends in 
Old England, and believe me to be, 

My dear Tyers, yours ever truly, 


Letter forwarded by Mr. Raymond to Mr. Tyers. 

Melbourne, 24th August 1842. 

I should have before this written to you, according to my 
promise, but the sameness of the country through which I travelled, 
where you meet nothing pleasing to the eye or interesting to relate, 
induced me to defer writing up to this time, in the hope that I 
might be able to give you some information respecting Gippsland 
which may not before have reached you. Count Strzelecki's 
description of it as an agricultural and grazing country is fully 
borne out. In all my travels in New South Wales for those 
purposes I have not seen its equal. His chart, however, gives 
you a very incorrect idea of the courses of the rivers, as you will 
see by Mr. Townsend's survey, which I suppose will have arrived 
in Sydney before this. That part of the country marked in the 
Count's chart between Gippsland and Omeo as Buckley's and 
Macalister's stations is a very extensive country, and better suited 
for sheep than Gippsland, and I have no doubt the greater portion 
of it will be taken up next summer. The richness of the soil in 
Gippsland makes it, with the exception of small portions of it, 
less suited for sheep, but it is capable of feeding an immense 
number of cattle. The runs which I have selected are on the 
Avon River, and extend to a lake into which the river empties 
itself, and are a fine, open, undulating country, sound to the water's 
edge. I, however, do not consider them equal to those I occupied 
at Wellington, had we the same moisture as I am led to suppose 
we have in Gippsland ; the lake itself is a very large sheet of 
water, which I suppose to be in width about twelve or fourteen 

132 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

miles, and from what I saw of it from the mountains when coming 
to Gippslancl, I should imagine it to be from fifty to sixty miles 
long. The water when I visited it was brackish, but not too 
much so for stock, and we were soon able to enjoy a good pot of 
tea made with it, after a long day's ride. I am, however, assured 
by Mr. McMillan (Mr. Macalister's superintendent), and the first 
discoverer of this country, who had visited it three times in the 
summer months, that he never found it so before, and the only 
way in which I can account for this is that I suppose the rush of 
water into the lake at this time of the year is so great as to break 
through some outlet or sand bank, leaving a passage for the salt 
water to enter, which passage fills up in the summer months. I, 
however, intend on my return to make an excursion on the lake, 
and examine the coast side of it as well as the soundings, the 
particulars of which I will give you when I return to Sydney after 
shearing. I have not as yet fallen in with any of the aboriginal 
natives, but from what I can collect respecting them, they are a 
wild race, and have already committed some outrages on the 

There are already in Gippsland about seven thousand head of 
cattle, belonging to Messrs. Macalister, Macfarlane, Arbuckle, 
Cunningham, Pearson, Jones, Taylor and Loughnan, and some 
small squatters who, I understand, do not hold licenses ; thirty-five 
thousand sheep, brought by Messrs. Macalister, Curlewis, Reeve, 
Taylor and Loughnan, Jones, and myself ; and about one hundred 
horses, and a population of one hundred and forty-four free men, 
thirty-three bond, twenty-six free women, and seventeen children 
most of them in service, the remainder living, God knows how, 
on the beach, where they have erected huts for themselves, waiting, 
they say, for the town allotments to be put up for sale. We feel 
the want of a police bench here very much. The servants do just 
as they like, work or walk away as they think proper, and are 
harboured by those people on the beach. If my father agree to 
my proposition to bring down the remainder of our sheep, and to 
reside there, I shall willingly do my best as a magistrate to keep 
the district in order, if His Excellency will give me the power by 
granting a Court of Petty Sessions, a clerk, and a few constables; 
or, perhaps, a party of the border police, under the direction of a 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 133 

sergeant of the mounted police, would be more available in the 
district. Mr. Curlewis, I understand, intends to reside in the 
district; so does Mr. Reeve; and these gentlemen would, I think, 
be eligible for appointment to the Commission of the Peace, and 
their services as magistrates would, I have no doubt, be of great 
advantage to the district. 

I arrived here last week after a very severe journey by way of 
Western Port. Mr. Albert Brodribb, Mr. Pearson, I, and my black - 
fellow whom I brought with me from Wellington, started on the 
information of a Mr. Campbell, who stated that he had ridden 
for three days in the direction of Western Port, and had got sight 
of that place. Upon this information we took with us ten days' 
provisions and pack-horses to accompany us for two days ; we, 
however, owing to the denseness of the scrub, found it impossible 
to bring the horses farther than the first day's journey, about 
fourteen miles ; consequently, we shouldered our pack (blessing 
the informer), and with great difficulty made about four miles that 
day ; for fourteen days, during ten of which it rained without 
ceasing, we never could exceed eight miles in the day. On the 
fifteenth day we got into a lower and less broken country, the 
scrub still continuing, with water up to our knees, and our pro- 
visions, with the exception of a little flour and tea, were all 
exhausted. We, however, managed to exist to the end of the 
journey upon what the blackfellow could get in the shape of two 
pheasants, five monkeys, and a parrot, a small portion of which 
was served out in the morning with about two table-spoonfuls of 
flour, which we put to boil in a quart pot of water. In the even- 
ing, by way of change, we had the monkey, and tea without sugar. 
In this way we lived for eight days, at times so exhausted that 
when we walked a mile or two we were quite done up, suffering 
severely from the cuts we got getting through the scrub our 
clothes and boots being completely torn off of us ; and it was, I can 
as-sure you, to our great joy on the eighteenth day that we made 
Western Port, when we were picked up by Mr. Surveyor Smyth, 
who is surveying the coast, and who kindly conveyed us in his 
boat to Mr. Jamieson's and thence to Mr. Manton's, from whence 
we made this place, making the journey on foot in twenty-two 
days. As the mail by the Tambo is about to be made up, I must 

134 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

now conclude, assuring you that 1 will at all times be most ready 
to give you any information as to the district that may be in my 

power, and remain, 

My dear Sir, 

Yours ever truly, 



Population, from 350 to 400, of whom 30 are bond. 

Probable amount of revenue : 


Reeve, Loughnan, Arbuckle, \ s. d. 

Raymond, Jones, Pearson, I 

Curlewis, McFarlane, Scott, J 140 

Cunningham, Macalister, Klrig> I 

Duncan and Mason, McMillan, ) 

There are several settlers squatting without license, keeping 
stores, grog shops, &c. If obliged to pay license their 
licenses would produce : 

Campbell, Neilson, Fernham, ^j 

Bunton, Kennedy, Cutts, 70 

Turnbull, J 

Assessment for this half-year : 
7,000 cattle ^ 

35,000 sheep 120 8 4 

150 horses J 

Assessment for next half-year (adding 50 per cent.) ... 180 12 6 

Probable amount of revenue for 1843 ... ... 511 1ft 

This amount is likely to be much increased, as follows, from 

the number of settlers going to Gippsland. 
Probable amount of Customs duty now lost to the 

Government : 

3,600 Ibs. of tobacco all can be landed free of^j 

duty from Van Diemen's Land ... >- 360 0* 

Two public-house licenses ... ... J 

Spirits, at an average of 10s. a gallon ... ... 300 

Total ... ... 1,171 10 

This is the amount of revenue that can be collected in Gippsland with 
proper officers. 

This is allowing 12 Ibs. of tobacco to each grown adult male per annum 
known to be less than the average and say each man spends 5 per annum 
in drink, of this 4 is for spirits at 40s. (retail price) per gallon. 

The Treasury has also received 10,240 for two special surveys at Gipps- 
land, and also 5,120 for a third "special" there, but which has since been 
allowed to be selected elsewhere. The township is also being surveyed at 
this moment, and must bring a considerable sum to the Land fund. 

1 This document is not signed. It was found by Mr. Raymond amongst his papers, and 
forwarded by him to Mr. Tyers, along with the preceding letter. ED. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 135 

No. 20. 

Warrnambool, August 30th 1853. 

I received your letter of the 29th ult., asking information as 
to the first occupation of various portions of the colony. This I 
have great pleasure in furnishing, so far as my recollection will 
admit. I shall therefore commence from my first connexion with 
Port Phillip. I first visited it for the purpose of examining it 
early in February 1836, at which time there were not more than 
about 2,500 sheep in the whole district, although fully twice that 
number had been shipped, but from casualties had been reduced to 
about the number I have named. One of my brothers and myself 
reached Gellibrand Point early in July, where we heard that a 
number of gentlemen on a pleasure party had been with the brig 
Henry into Geelong harbour ; and as we wished to settle west- 
ward, this at once determined us on attempting to land our sheep 
at Point Henry, then known by the native name Maloppio. We 
succeeded in doing this, and I put the first sheep ever landed on 
the point ashore on the 9th July 1836. During the same day 
Mr. John Steiglitz also arrived with stock. 

We immediately removed to the Moorabool and occupied both 
sides of that river from Sutherland's Creek down to the old Race- 
course. At this time there were only three stations west of the 
Werribee, viz., Cowie, Stead, and Steiglitz, at a place on the Moora- 
bool known as the Bell-post ; Dr. Thomson's station at the falls 
on the Barwon ; and a Mr. Darke on the Barrabool Hills. These I 
believe arrived and occupied the country in the order I have 
named them, having landed their stock either at the Heads or at 
Gellibrand Point. 

We were immediately followed by Mr. Wm. Eoadknight, who 
occupied the country on both sides of the river where the lower 
vineyards are. In the September following a great influx of stock 
into the Western District took place by the arrival of Mr. Joseph 
Sutherland, who settled on the creek now bearing his name ; Mr. 
G. Russell, on account of the Clyde Company, on the Moorabool 
and Leigh ; Mr. David Fisher, on account of the Derwent Com- 
pany, occupying where Geelong now is, Indented Head, and the 
country about the junction of the Barwon and Leigh. A Captain 

13G Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Pollock went on to the Barwon where the upper vineyard is ; a 
Mr. Sharpe, on account of Colonel Kelsall, taking the upper part 
of Sutherland's Creek, and Mr. John Highett, who remained 
(moving about) a short time on the Barwon, finally removed into 
the Melbourne District. The above, to the best of my recollection, 
arrived during September and October of 1836. 

I then, until the commencement of 1839, resided in Van 
Diemen's Land (with the exception of occasional short visits), and 
cannot say in what order the country was taken up. In Novem- 
ber of 1837, my brothers and self examined the country about 
Buninyong, Warrenheip, and Lake Burrumbeet, and encamped 
one night on the now-celebrated Golden Point, Ballarat, little 
dreaming of the immense wealth beneath us. At this time there 
were only two stations on the upper part of the Moorabool, viz., 
that of Mr. J. N. McLeod, and that of Mr. G. F. Read. 

It was in December of 1838 that my brothers first discovered 
Lake Purrumbete and Mount Leura country ; we then abandoned 
our station on the Moorabool (which became a kind of depot for 
stock on first arrival), and removed our stock to Purrumbete, which 
we occupied about the close 'of January 1839. The Messrs. 
Bolden had a week or two previously occupied the run on the 
Pirron Yalloak, which they soon after sold to Scott and Richard- 
son. The next station formed was at Mount Noorat, by a person 
named Taylor, on account of Messrs. McKillop and Smith, who 
sold to Messrs. Niel Black and Co. This was taken up in March 
1839. The Mount Shadwell country was now occupied by a Mr. 
Anderson, who removed from the stations now held by McMillan 
and Wilson (Wardy Yalloak), with a portion of stock belonging to 
the Derwent Company, and soon afterwards fell into the hands of 
Captain Webster. 

Simultaneously with the occupation of Mount Shadwell the 
Messrs. Watson discovered the Hopkins, and took up the Merang 
run on the western side, and then sold to Mr. Farie. 

The land on the opposite side to Farie's was first taken up 
by the Messrs. Bolden, in August 1840, and then sold to Mr. G. 

During the period from August to Christmas 1840, the Messrs. 
Bolden, by forming various out-stations, occupied on the western 
side of the Hopkins all the country subsequently held by Messrs. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 137 

Plummer and Dent, Strong and Foster, Manifold, Ryrie, Car- 
michael, Good, Mailor, Manning, Eddington, Walker, and Cos- 
grove ; and on the eastern side, the part of the country held by 
Black, Johnson, Walker, Chisholm, and Allan. I cannot name the 
precise time when each of these stations was occupied, but be- 
lieve that Plummer and Dent's (now Joseph Ware's) was occupied 
about the latter end of 1842 or commencement of 1843 ; Strong 
and Foster's about the same time ; Ryrie's (the Lake Station) in 
June 1844 ; my own (the Grasmere Station) in the month follow- 
ing. The others were respectively portions sliced off the country 
claimed by the Messrs. Bolden. Allan's station was occupied 
first in 1841, and Chisholm's (junction of Hopkins and Emu 
Creek) about the same time. 

In reply to your inquiries as to the haunts, numbers, &c., of the 
aborigines, I am afraid I can give little or no information. Al- 
though each tribe has its own district, and each family its portion, 
I never could perceive that they became in any way attached to a 
particular spot, or attempted to construct a dwelling having any 
greater claim to permanency than the common mia-mia. Xor 
have I ever observed the slightest semblance of religion among 
them. With respect to their number at the time the country was 
first occupied, it has been, in all accounts I have seen, very much 
overrated. I come to this conclusion from having counted their 
mia-mias when congregated, and do not recollect in any instance 
seeing more than about 30, nor do I think they would average 
more than from four to five in a hut. Their manner towards the 
first settlers had generally the semblance of extreme friendship, but 
this, I am convinced, did not in reality ever exist ; it arose from 
the mere novelty of the thing, and a desire to gratify their 
curiosity, which, being satiated, they would, whenever they got 
a chance, plunder or murder even those from whom they had only 
a few minutes previously received presents and food This may 
seem harsh, but I have known so many instances of it, that I feel 
justified in speaking thus generally of them. Trusting the above 
may be of some little service, 

I remain, dear Sir, yours truly, 

To His Excellency 

C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

138 Letters from Victorian Pioneers, 

No. 21. 

Hermitage, October 6th 1853. 

In reply to yours of the 29th July, requesting information as 
to the first settlement of the country adjacent to the Bar won and 
Glenelg rivers : 

In the first week of May 1836, I left George Town, Van Die- 
men's Land, with a small flock of sheep, in the brig Henry. Five 
days after embarkation they were landed at Williamstown, Port 
Phillip, where I found several, if not all, of the first settlers, with 
their flocks, all of which had been brought from Van Diemen's Land 
within the five or six previous months, and which were left in charge 
of the shepherds near the beach until suitable runs could be pro- 
cured. I have no recollection of any serious depredations having 
been committed by the aborigines at this time. The wild dogs 
were very numerous and troublesome, and destroyed several sheep. 
Their howling at night was terrific. While at Williamstown, a 
Mr. Franks and I agreed to take up a run together ; Mr. Franks 
was to select it. After making these arrangements, I left my 
sheep and shepherd and returned to Van Diemen's Land. About six 
weeks after, I received the melancholy intelligence of the murder 
of poor Mr. Franks and my shepherd, both of whom had been 
struck on the head by the blacks with a tomahawk while making 
a bush fence for yarding the sheep on the new run they had 
selected on Mount Cotterill, near the River Exe. Shortly after, 
during the day, my son Thomas on riding up to assist in making 
the yards, found the unfortunate Mr. Franks and the shepherd 
lying on their faces, with the back of their heads split open. 
About this time there were other murders one at Indented Head. 
Captain Flat, a manager for Dr. Thomson, after being dreadfully 
beaten and left for dead, recovered. Several other murders and 
robberies were committed by the blacks, but I cannot particu- 
larize them. After this, my sheep were put into a flock of Judge 
Pedder's, in charge of Mr. Darke, where they remained until the 
unfortunate circumstance of the loss of Messrs. Gellibrand and 
Hesse. These gentlemen had been missing some time, and, 
doubts being entertained of their safety, my son, who was an 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 130' 

articled clerk to Mr. Gellibrand, went with four or five others in 
search of the missing explorers in the direction where, from the 
information they had received, they hoped to fall in with their 
tracks. After searching and following the Barwon River in a 
westerly direction, about thirty miles from Geelong they found 
the tracks of the lost party, and followed them until they reached 
the place where Mr. Gellibrand and Mr. Hesse had camped. On 
this spot the searching party stayed during the night. Next morn- 
ing they continued following the track up the river until the 
country became so stony and rough that they could not trace the 
party further; consequently they struck off from the river towards 
Lake Colac; and therefore, it was at this time, and by this party, 
Lake Colac was first discovered, and also Buninyong, Stony 
Rises, and other places. 

After the party returned, my son took the sheep to the spot 
where he first found the track of Gellibrand's party, and where 
we have been ever since. This part of the country has since been- 
surveyed and marked off into counties and parishes. Our station, 
named Ingleby, is in the parish of Yan Yan Gurt, county Polwarth. 
The eastern side of my Ingleby station was taken up by Mr. 
Henry Hopkins, of Hobart Town, and is now the property of 
his son, John Hopkins, and called Wormbete. This property 
is considerably improved. The station on the north side of 
Wormbete was first taken possession of by Mr. W. Roadkuight, 
whose son is now in possession. 

The station south of Ingleby was taken up by William Road- 
knight, and is now occupied by Mr. Thomas Vicary, Mr. 
Roadknight's son-in-law. This station is called Yan Yan Gurt. 
The station adjoining this on the west was taken up by Thomas 
Crutch, who sold to Matthews, who sold to George Vicary, 
who is now in possession. The original occupiers of the country 
adjacent to, and lying W.S.W. further up the Barwon River, 
were Messrs. Austin, Roadknight, Ricketts, Dennis, and myself, 
all of whom, in 1840, were removed by the Government to make 
room for the Wesleyan missionaries, who, if I am correctly 
informed, brought an order from the Home Government to occupy 
ten miles square of land for the purpose of maintaining and 
civilizing the aborigines. This mission failed, and the land has 
since been sold, and let to the highest bidder. Nearly the whole 

140 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

of it is now in possession of Mr. James Austin and myself. North- 
west of the Mission Station was originally occupied by a Mr. 
Matheson, who sold to the Messrs. Dennis, the present occupiers. 
The original occupiers of the land lying westerly from Messrs. 
Dennis, in the Colac district, were Messrs. Murray, Lloyd, Dr. 
Morris, Pollock, Dewing, and Captain Fyans, the whole of whom 
sold their right of runs, excepting Mr. Murray and Captain 
Fyans, in consequence of the great expenses and many difficulties 
they had to contend with. About five miles in an easterly 
direction from Dennis Brothers, and north from Ingleby about 
three miles, are two small mountains, supposed to be of volcanic 
production. They are named after the two unfortunate gentle- 
men, Messrs. Gellibrand and Hesse. Between Mount Gellibraud 
and Dennis Brothers' station is situated a station selected and 
originally occupied by Airey and Darnell, who made considerable 
improvements. These gentlemen dissolved partnership. Darnell 
sold to Airey, who has since died ; the property is now rented to 
Messrs. Beale and Trebeck. The station lying east of the last- 
mentioned, called Hesse Mount, is part of a station originally 
occupied by Messrs. Highett and Harding ; they having separated, 
Highett sold to Mr. Hopkins, of Hobart Town, whose son Arthur 
is now occupying it. Mr. Harding still retains possession of his 
half. My son Thomas, who has been previously mentioned in this 
letter, lost his life by a cold caught in crossing the Barwon before 
there were any bridges. 

I have the honour to remain, 
Your Excellency's most obedient servant, 


His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, 
C. J. La Trobe, Esq., &c. 

P.S. Most substantial improvements, chiefly stone, have been 
made on nearly all the stations herein mentioned. They are fully 
stocked with sheep, cattle, and horses, and there are cultivated 
fields well fenced, on nearly every station. On our station there 
are 40,000 sheep, 2,000 cattle, and horses, &c. The aborigines 
occupying the country adjacent to the Barwon River, from the 
sea to its source, were supposed to be about 300 in all the 
Indented Head, Barrabool Hills, Colac, and Yan Yan Gurt tribes. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 141' 

Their chief support was fish, caught in the river in the summer 
and autumn seasons, and in winter and spring they depended on 
their success in hunting, together with the root called "murnong." 
The gentleman I expected to get information from relative to 
the country adjoining the Glenelg acquaints me he has given all 
the information Your Excellency required to Mr. Bell, 'the Com- 
missioner, but I am expecting this gentleman in Geelong, after 
shearing, when if I can glean anything further I will take care 
it shall be forwarded. 

G. A. 


Victoria Valley, 
MY DEAR SIR Saturday, August the 13th 1853. 

I am not surprised at your returning to Britain, be it for weal 
or woe. As for me, I suppose, as I made a fool of myself by going 
home for a wife, I must also make a fool of myself a second time 
by going again with her. 

For His Honour's informafcion : I came here about the year 
1841 with 1,800 sheep and a few horses. The damned sheep eat 
the grass, and I pared their feet, and improved the country by my 
individual labour. I got the run from James R. Unitt, and Thos. 
Woolley first occupied it. I have had many a scrimmage with 
the w r hites, and the niggers once took a mob of my "jumbuks" 
across the Victoria to the Glenelg, where I followed them. 
I recovered all but 44 sheep with the assistance of Captain Dana 
and his since much-despised black guard. 

The niggers have always been shy of coming to or showing 
on this country. You will excuse my not writing more, as 'tis my 

With compliments to Mrs. Rose, and wishing you every 

I remain, yours very truly, 

P. D. Rose, Esq. 

1 This letter was forwarded by Mr. P. D. Rose to Mr. La Trobe. ED. 

142 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

3STo. 23. 

Station of Hogg and Lawton, 
On board Lady Augusta steamer, beyond Swan Hill. 

Tuesday, April 20th 1853. 

You will oblige me by causing to be made, and sending to me at 
Adelaide, a copy of my despatch to the Secretary of State from 
the copy which I sent to Governor La Trobe, from Swan Hill, on 
the 17th inst. ; for by some oversight of my amanuensis a tran- 
script of it has not been retained to enable me to forward a duplicate 
to Downing Street. You will hear, no doubt, from Mrs. Irvine a 
correspondent of Mrs. Campbell's many of the little incidents of 
our voyage, which a lady's pen can only describe suitably. All 
I need say is that, in every respect, the journey has thus far been 
very agreeable, and Mrs. Irvine's wit and cheerfulness have con- 
tributed greatly to enliven us. The river for 40 miles approaching 
Swan Hill, and for 20 miles beyond it, presents the most singular 
aspect which it is possible to conceive a vast plain of reeds, 
without visible high land of any kind, or trees ; the river-course 
perfectly safe, 'open, and deep (3 and 3^ fathoms) ; occasionally a 
fringe of high trees, and then another vast plain, entirely bare and 
open, with large lakes. Whilst the first fringe of trees lasted, the 
snags were pretty frequent, and the trees rather overhanging, but 
offering no serious impediment to the navigation. On the reed- 
plains we have seen many fat cattle ; but generally, at this season, 
they are too much under water to be fit for pasture, but in summer 
I should think them excellent. The reeds evidently have a ten- 
dency to give place to grass, and consequently firmer ground, and 
when the day arrives for the wet plains to become meadows they 
will be rich indeed. The Mary Anne, a steamer of 20 tons, 
built, navigated, and owned by the Randalls, millers and farmers 
of Gumeracka, started a fortnight before us from the Reedy 
Creek, and reached Swan Hill some hours after us, on the 17th 
inst. She is now ahead of us, having steamed all night, and passed 
us this morning whilst we were at anchor cutting wood. The 
squatters are all delighted at the pi'ospect of sending their wool 

Letters from Victorian Piowers. 143 

by water ; and there can be no doubt that steamers will hence- 
forth never leave these waters, to the great benefit of all the 
colonies, and the speedy exploration of the rest of the continent. 

Yours very sincerely, 

H. E. F. YOUNG. 
Norman Campbell, Esq. 

No. 24=. 

Ganawarra, 29th September 1853. 


I received your communication of the 29th July about five 
weeks since, and I have to apologize for not replying sooner. I 
hope that you will obtain some of the information required from 
the enclosed. Last Wednesday evening the Lady Augusta steamer 
arrived here, having on board Sir Henry Young and a number of 
ladies and gentlemen from South Australia. They left on Friday 
morning on their return. They seemed much delighted with their 
voyage, and quite sanguine as to the continual successful naviga- 
tion of the Murray for six or eight months in the year. 

I am, Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esquire. 

In October 1844, 1 came up to the Murray to look for unoccu- 
pied country suitable for pastoral purposes, and went out exploring 
on the other side of the river, and saw much available country. 
The lowest stations then were Messrs. Collyer's on this side, and 
Mr. Clark's on the other side of the river. Mr. E. B. Green had 
taken up a run below Mr. Clark's, which he had to vacate for 
about twelve mouths on account of the hostility of the blacks. 

In February 1845, 1 brought my stock (sheep and cattle) up to 
the Murray, and stationed them temporarily on the Yalloak Creek, 
about thirteen miles below the Messrs. Collyer's home-station, 

144 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

and went out exploring on this side of the river, accompanied by 
Mr. McDougall (acting for Mr. J. C. Curlewis) and Jack, a native 
of Twofold Bay, and after being out fourteen days returned to my 
camp at the Yalloak Creek. Mr. McDougall and I proceeded to 
Melbourne to obtain depasturing licenses, and before my return 
poor Jack had been enticed away by other aborigines, who mur- 
dered him the day after. I was much surprised that he joined 
them, as I had frequently heard him express his belief that if they 
got an opportunity they would kill him, and that he put no faith 
in anything they might say to the contrary. I was much grieved 
at his loss, for he was a merry, agreeable fellow, a first-rate bullock- 
driver, and an expert horseman. He was about twenty years of 
age, and had lived seven years with the whites. I came here 
early in June. Mr. Curlewis had passed to Lake Boga ; Mr. 
James Cowper had located himself on the other side of the Loddon, 
with sheep, about eighteen miles from this ; and Mr. James 
RoAvan arrived at Gunbower Station shortly afterwards. 

I cultivated a friendly feeling with the natives, and I found 
them inoffensive and obedient. Upon one occasion, however, seven 
strange blacks came to the hut ; there was no one at home but 
myself, and after some conversation with them I went to the river 
for water. Previous to stooping down I happened to turn round, 
and saw one of the natives (Warrigal Jemmy, afterwards trans- 
ported for life) following me a few yards behind, with my own 
axe uplifted and clasped in both hands. I fixed my eye upon his, 
walked deliberately up to him, and gently took hold of the axe, 
which he quietly relinquished. I walked back to the hut con- 
versing with him, as if he had done nothing to excite my 
suspicion, and I concealed the circumstance from my own men 
and the natives on the station for about two years. When I men- 
tioned it to the natives of this place they said they had no doubt 
but that Warrigal Jemmy intended to kill me, but that he acted 
from impulse, and there was nothing premeditated. At another 
time, when near the Reedy Lake, about 30 natives, naked and 
armed with spears, surrounded me, and I was well pleased to 
recognise three of the blacks from my own station among them, 
whom I advised immediately to go home which they did. The 
party, when I saw them, were going in the direction where, two 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 145 

days afterwards, about six miles distant, two of Mr. Cowper's 
shepherds were murdered by aborigines, who, about that time, 
showed much hostility towards Mr. Cowper, and shortly after- 
wards towards Mr. Curlewis. The latter sustained loss, from 
their attacks upon his cattle, of about 6,000. The cause was, I 
believe, the following. Some white men on one side of the 
Murrabit called out to some blacks on the other side to come to 
them ; the latter inquired who they were, and were told that they 
were Mr. Curlewis's men, shooting ducks. The unsuspecting 
blacks were crossing in a canoe, when one or two of them were 
shot by the whites, who were Mr. Cowper's men. 

In April 184G I went about 140 miles down on this side of 
the Murray, accompanied by two whites and a Gunbower black- 
fellow. When about ten miles below the country since occupied 
by Mr. Beveridge, we saw a number of natives at a distance, who 
seemed very frightened of us. At length they approached nearer 
(carrying green boughs in their hands, which they kept waving 
towards us), and came to the opposite bank of a creek, when we 
carried on a conversation through my blackfellow, and two of 
them agreed to cross to us if we sent away our guns, which was 
done. We were short of provisions at the time, and they pro- 
mised to meet us next day with fish. We then proceeded lower 
down the river, resolving to return next day. After parting with 
the natives, my blackfellow informed me that when we went for 
the fish the natives would kill us ; that they told him so, and asked 
him to join them. I doubted his statement. After consideration, 
and after questioning him closely at different times, I discovered 
that he was trying to deceive me, which he confessed, but said 
that we ought to shoot them after they brought us the fish. We 
met the two natives next day, according to appointment, who gave 
us the promised fish. One of these men afterwards assisted ta 
murder Mr. Beveridge. Some months after I came up here, Mr. A. 
McCallum occupied Mount Hope and Tragowel, and Mr. Greene 
re-occupied the stations on the opposite side of the Murray. 
The Gunbower blacks are 35 in number ; the Mially Water 
blacks (or my blacks) are 32 in number, and are not decreasing. 

146 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

No. 25. 


BOARD THE " ARGO," AUG. 19TH 1853. 

First visit to P. P. with Gellibrand, 1836. See journal of 
latter. Returns to V. D. L., and thence to N. S. W. close of 
year December. Came overland from Murrumbidgee with sheep 
with Hawdon and Hepburn, having disposed of his station on that 
river to Mollison. Ebden follows. 

No. 26. 
DEAR SIR, Melbourne. 

I send you the enclosed, which I fear is of little value, but I 
found a reluctance in many to allow me to repeat anecdotes of 
blacks mentioned by themselves, and have only told of what I 
know to be correct. 

And am, dear Sir, 

Yours very truly, 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe. 

James Hodgkinson. Maiden Hills, Woodstock, taken up, in 
1841, with 2,000 sheep, 1 horse, and 6 bullocks. Sold in 1853, 
20,000 at 23s. 6d., and let 10,000, with part of the station, at 2s. 6d. 
for five years. Had great trouble with the blacks at starting ; 
lost by them 200 sheep. The number of blacks exceeded 500 in 
1841 now only a few stragglers remaining. Frequent murders 
among the blacks, and, in some instances, Europeans also. The 
country is now much improved for pastoral purposes. Kangaroo 
grass has nearly disappeared, and wire grass taken its place. 

Brodie and Cruikshank. Wonwondah, River Wimmera, taken 
up in February 1844, with 3,300 sheep. Lost by the blacks, 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 147 

during the first year, 1,800 sheep. The extra expenses while form- 
ing the station, guns, extra labour, etc., two shepherds to each flock, 
and additional hut-keepers, 1,000; added 18,000 sheep during 
the year. The blacks were exceedingly numerous and trouble- 
some, Mount Arapiles being their head-quarters when with stolen 
stock. Their numbers are now greatly diminished. 

Alfred Taddy Thomson. Fievy Creek taken up in 1841, 
having been five months on the road, with 4,000 sheep ; lost 300 
under Mount William by the blacks, who were so troublesome as 
to cause two shepherds to be with each flock, and at times the men 
refused to shepherd from fear of the blacks. 

R. Sutherland. Took up part of Taylor and McPherson's run 
iii 184G, and caused a law-suit, each party leading his men in a 
battle royal. Sutherland had to vacate. 

Alick Anderson. Emu Creek taken up, in 1840, with 2,000 
at 30s. per head. Not troubled with blacks himself, but great 
complaints farther off. 

Company's. Leigh, on the Moorabool, taken up in 1839, with 
25,000. Blacks troublesome at first. There were 200 at that 
time in the tribe, called the Woodcole tribe ; few remaining. 

John Carfrae, Ledcourt, Wimmera : bought in 1848, 21,000 
sheep at 7s. per head ; clean. It is doubtful if this run has 
improved, being of a wet nature, a coarse grass having taken 
the place of the natural grass and herbs. The kangaroo still 
plentiful at the foot of the mountains. Main range of Gram- 
pians, sandstone, and all the shoulders from the base, ironstone ; 
granite in some places covered with sandstone. Sir Thomas 
Mitchell's track still visible at Mount Tyers ; also, one circular 

Neptune Melgorarainur (Light of the Mountain or Wild-dog 
of the Mountain), at the latter end of 1853, died with drinking 
spirits ; he slipped away from the other blacks and spilled a cask, 
and was found dead under it in the morning. One family of blacks 
have died off on this run in three years all strong, fine men ; each 
dying in the same month, same week, in corresponding years, from 
apparently the same cause, viz., wasting of the lungs, attributed to 
change of clothes and diet. Dublin Jack, a white man, lived six 
years with the blacks, and has two fine boys. He was found dead 

148 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

in his cainp in about June last, supposed to have been strangled 
by the natives. One black at Mt. Wills Station died from eating 
wheat while grinding ; another at Ledcourt, from eating enor- 
mously of a diseased sheep. Crows and eaglehawks are our worst 
enemies, and the wild dog is again beginning to appear. Hay was 
sold this year at 75 per ton to the innkeeper. Old Billy 
Yanengoneh (spring from the earth) is at Norfolk Island, having 
been sent there for stealing 600 sheep belonging, to Baillie and 
Hamilton, which were found Avith all their fore-legs broken to keep 
them from getting away. This black was seen at Norfolk Island, 
and whenever he mentioned the Grampians invariably cried from 
thought of home. In 1841 a hut-keeper and stockman at Moke- 
pilly took two lubras from their camp to their own huts ; then went 
and shot the coolies, whom they buried in the sand. I was told 
this by a black, " Calligan," well known at the Grampians, who 
pointed out the spot where they were buried, and digging I found it 
to be too true. A black dead three months was taken from the tree 
where he was buried, and, a council being held, he was taken care- 
fully down, one old man holding the body in a sitting posture 
between his legs, still all covered with cloths and rags, when one 
black walked up and uncovering the foot broke off the toe-bones 
and retired ; another did the same with the other foot ; then others 
came in turn, and each breaking off a joint until they came to the 
neck the face never having been uncovered, which was kept 
from view by the old black holding it. The lubras were singing 
all the time, and the head was again buried in a tree, and all the 
bones of the body collected and put into a bag, which the old 
mother slept on, and uses still (September 1853) as a pillow. 

In 1844 or 1845, I took a white (half-caste) infant from the 
mother, who gave it up very willingly. I kept it for two months, 
but a disorder breaking out on it my servant refused to attend to 
it, and, on my departure for town, made the mother take it away, 
since which I could never persuade her to let me have him again, 
but she has since sold him for a sack of flour to Armstrong, of 
Allanvale, who has him at present with his own boys at school in 
Melbourne, and he surpasses the white children of his own age in 
quickness and learning. He has lost all knowledge of the native 
language, and is in great fear of blacks. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 149 

lu 1843 I had a little girl about nine years old, who kept con- 
stantly on the station from being nearly blind and in continual bad 
health. She took great delight in pointing out springs on the run, 
and was always very merry. About two years after, an old black 
(Captain Jack) came and took her away, and when in the Gap, 
six miles from Rosebrook, he drew her behind him as he sat on 
the ground, and grasping her neck strangled her. This was told 
me with merriment by the other blacks, who were at the time 
simulating the noise and convulsions of the poor little savage. 
Captain Jack, her murderer, was himself killed by two of my own 
black boys, who made him the first victim they had ever slain. 
They did this by treachery. They induced him to go with them 
to hunt, and one sat down and offered the old fellow something to 
eat, and when quite off his guard the other boy from behind 
knocked out his brains. I am not aware what they did with the 

Being anxious to procure a skull, two boys brought me one, 
using it as a football, and in great glee when the jaws and teeth 
rattled. They did not like touching it with their hands. 

About 1846, a woman and two children came to my station 
(Mokepilly) badly wounded with spears ; the mother had crawled 
nine miles, and died two days after her arrival ; one child died 
also. The other, a boy, I kept for five years, and he was very use- 
ful. When my wife came to the station he was very fond of her, 
and told her of all bush and native habits. On one occasion he 
asked my brother to let him go to a meeting of blacks, but was 
refused, as we were busy, when he said " If busy, he did not want 
to go." My brother being pleased with his willingness, allowed 
him to leave, but the poor little fellow was killed the day after. 
The meeting had been all arranged for the purpose. 

A letter sent me by a hut-keeper 
" Mons., 

" le shenl Tin Bik Baks Mayates Box. P.S. caytche 
de Raytche. 

" Obediens Servitor, 


" I send ten big bags, Margaret's box, and the puss has caught 
the rat." 

150 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Rosebrook, taken up in March 1843, as "Huber Station"; ex- 
pended 3,000 in purchasing stock for it. Had a few losses by 
Macks, and was obliged to have two hut-keepers together. Sold, 
in 1853, 10,000 sheep, 300 cattle, and all other items on station 
given in, for 12,000, 9,000 of which was to hang over five years 
at 6 per cent. 1 have foolishly transferred my license, which would 
have been one of the best securities. I have known as many as 
400 blacks assembled different tribes on this and neighbouring 
stations at one time ; few are remaining about 30 only of one 
tribe. Now, in 1843, I think there were over 100. 

A few old men still use a spatula to dig a small hole, and 
cover their evacuations like the Israelites of old. In 1843, at the 
Grampians, all did this. None will eat pork there even now, 
cooked in any shape, salt or fresh. They think it brings a scab 
out on them. 

From my own experience, I think the country greatly improv- 
ing in grass, but in some districts getting scrubby from fires not 
being so frequent, principally in box forests and in the Sydney 

No. 27. 

MY DEAR SIR, Wangaratta, 8th September 1853. 

Your Excellency's letter of the 27th July I beg respectfully 
to acknowledge, and, as far as it may be within my power, I will 
endeavour to give your Excellency as clear an account, as my 
memory at this distance of time will admit, respecting the first 
settlement by the white man of the land lying between the Murray 
and the Broken River. It was in February 1838, that I first 
determined to remove my stock from the colony of New South 
Wales to the famed land of Port Phillip. 

It was known for years prior to this time that much fine land 
lay in this neighbourhood, and extended from the Murrumbidgee 
to the Bay of Port Phillip. Hume and Hovell were the first 
discoverers of this fine country, but Sir Thomas Mitchell, some 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 151 

years afterwards in tracing down the Darling, opened up the great 
country to the westward, which gave the stimulus to the proprietors 
of stock in New South Wales to migrate with their flocks and 
herds from a land at that time suffering from severe drought, "unto 
a land which is the glory of all lands." 

Many persons and numerous flocks and herds were on the line 
of march when I was, but none tarried or turned to the right hand 
or to the left ; all were hastening on to the lands so highly pictured 
by the discoveries before mentioned. 

When. I arrived at the Ovens, I knew from Hume's descrip- 
tion that there were plains, called, after the former Surveyor- 
General, Oxley. I determined to turn out of the beaten road and 
visit Oxley Plains, where I finally determined upon leaving my 
horned cattle, sending on my sheep to the finer lands spoken of 
by Sir Thomas Mitchell. It was at this juncture that I sent on 
my brother's sheep, under charge of his overseer, to the Broken 
River to await my coming up. Unfortunately, within a few days 
after their arrival there, they were attacked by the aborignes, 
many of his men murdered, the stock scattered through the 
country, and about 200 worth of property then in the drays 
taken away. 

My brother having arrived shortly after the massacre of his 
men and destruction of his property, we determined, for the 
sake of more fully protecting each other, to settle on the Ovens. 
Some few months passed on, when I had Messrs. Bowman, Reid, 
Chisholm, and Docker as neighbours. The country was left to 
us for some years in consequence of the hostility of the blacks, 
which became so unbearable that I could not keep shepherds, 
although well armed, without employing a horseman, in addition 
to myself, to keep continually perambulating the woods lest the 
natives might cut them off. During my employment in this way 
my cattle were destroyed in numbers within the short distance of 
only six miles from my hut. I once found fourteen head of 
slaughtered cattle in one pond of water. They had been driven 
in by the natives, it being an ana-branch of the river, and from 
the depth of the water and the boggy state of its banks they 
were destroyed with the tomahawk in endeavouring to get out. 
Thus I and my men were kept for years in a perpetual state of 

152 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

alarm. We dared not move to supply our huts with wood or water 
without a gun, and many of my men absconded from my service, 
throwing away their firelocks, and in some cases destroying the 
locks and making them wholly useless from sheer terror of the 
blacks. This may appear too absurd for belief ; nevertheless, it is 
a fact. At last, it so happened that I was the means of putting 
an end to this warfare. Elding with two of my stockmen one day 
quietly along the banks of the river, we passed between the ana- 
branch of the river itself by a narrow neck of land, and, after 
proceeding about half a mile, we were all at once met by some 
hundreds of painted warriors with the most dreadful yells I had 
ever heard. Had they sprung from the regions below we could 
have hardly been more taken by surprise. Our horses bounded 
and neighed with fear old brutes, which in other respects re- 
quired an immense deal of persuasion in the way of spurs to make 
them go along. Our first impulse was to retreat, but we found the 
narrow way blocked up by natives two and three deep, and we 
were at once saluted with a shower of spears. My horse bounded 
and fell into an immense hole. A spear just then passed over 
the pummel of my saddle. This was the signal for a general 
onset. The natives rushed on us like furies, with shouts and savage 
yells ; it was no time for delay. I ordered my men to take 
deliberate aim, and to fire only with certainty of destruction to 
the individual aimed at. Unfortunately, the first shot from one of 
my men's carbines did not take effect ; in a moment we were 
surrounded on all sides by the savages boldly coming up to us. It 
was my time now to endeavour to repel them. I fired my double- 
barrel right and left, and two of the most forward fell ; this 
stopped the impetuosity of their career. I had time to reload, 
and the war thus begun continued from about ten o'clock in the 
morning until four in the afternoon. We were slow to fire, which 
prolonged the battle, and 60 rounds were fired, and I trust and 
believe that many of the bravest of the savage warriors bit the 

It was remarkable that the children, and many of the women 
likewise, had so little fear that they boldly ran forward, even 
under our horses' legs, picked up the spears, and carried them back 
to the warrior men. We at last beat them off the field, and found 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 153 

that they had a fine fat bullock some of it roasting, some cut up 
ready for the spit, and more cattle dead ready to portion out. 
The fight I have described gave them a notion of what sort of 
stuff the white man was made, and my name was a terror to them 
ever after. 

I picked up a boy from under a log, took him home and tamed 
him, and he became very useful to me, and I think was the means 
of deterring his tribe from committing further wanton depreda- 
tions upon my property; my neighbours, however, suffered much 
long after this. 

The Government during all this time gave no help, no assis- 
tance of any kind, and at last threatened to hang any one who 
dared to shoot a black, even in protection of his property, and 
appointed Protectors to search about the country for information 
as to the destruction of the natives. These gentlemen resorted to 
the most contemptible means to gain information against indi- 
viduals, whom the trumpet-tongue of falsehood had branded as 
having destroyed many of these savages. This, instead of doing 
good, did much evil. People formed themselves into bands of 
alliance and allegiance to each other, and then it was the de- 
struction of the natives really did take place. I, however, never 
troubled myself to go off my own run. I had no need of help, 
and had no desire for the destruction of the wretched race, but I 
would not undergo the same injuries, annoyances, and anxiety 
again for ten times the quantity of land I hold. No sooner was 
all fear of the blacks dissipated than the whites became almost as 
great a nuisance, in edging in their applications and claims for 
portions of our runs (and let it be remembered that we were the 
first squatters and pioneers of the district). Unfortunately, the 
Government gave too willing an ear to them, as we were all 
branded as murderers of the blacks ; they readily deprived us of 
portions of our runs to give them to the other squatters, who 
were considered peaceful men, as they well might be after the 
war was ended. Ours was the danger, theirs the reward. 

I need hardly carry my short and necessarily imperfect account 
further. Your Excellency is fully aware of the history of the 
squatters since. No sooner did the Home Government give to 
that class an interest in their stations, for the wholesome purpose 

154 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

of encouraging them to open up the wild lands of the colony, to 
raise the wool so necessary for the use of the world at large, to 
make themselves comfortable, and become the purchasers of some 
portions of these wild lands, than the gold-digger, the ephemeral 
grubber of a day, sets up his claim to the right, not only of the 
auriferous metal in the bowels of the earth but to the grass upon 
the earth, and that, too, free from all restraint, tramping under foot 
the rights of the pioneer squatter rights gained by discovery and 
by conquest, and Avhich are acknowledged by our Government. 
Because the land was God's land, made for all men to enjoy in 
common, therefore things in the earth and above the earth are 
theirs also in common ergo, the cattle will shortly be theirs, as 
the cattle eat the natural grasses of the earth, and breed upon 
the earth, and require no more tending than the kangaroo, 
and why should one man enjoy, monopolize, flocks and herds 
sufficient for thousands, because he may choose to put his 
brand upon them. This is the next argument I expect to 
hear from these men. Trusting that your Excellency will 
pardon me for inflicting so long a letter upon you, I remain, with 
great respect, 

Your Excellency's obedient and humble servant, 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq., 
Lieutenant-Governor, Victoria. 

No. 28. 

Weatherboard, near Geelong, Victoria, 
g IR August 22nd 1853. 

I regret that indisposition has prevented my earlier reply to 
your letter of 29th July, requesting " information as to the time 
and circumstances of the first occupation of the Leigh and Barwon 
and Geelong district generally." 

On my arrival in this country, llth April 1838, the Derwent 
Company (lately Port Phillip Association) possessed stock on the 

Letters from Victorian Piomers. 155- 

Indented Head and at Geelong. The land about Point Henry 
was only used for landing stock. Messrs. Cowie and Stead had 
a station on Bell Post Hill, but shortly afterwards moved to 
their present runs. Messrs. Manifold had a run at Batesford, 
on the Dog Rocks, and they removed in April 1839, to their 
present runs. Mr. G-. Russell (Clyde Company) had his home- 
station on the Moorabool, now a portion of Dr. Learmonth^ 
purchased ground, but very shortly afterwards he moved up to 
his present head station, on the Leigh. Messrs. Sutherland had 
a station on a creek running into the Moorabool, on the north 
side the station Mr. William Sharpe now occupies. The Messrs. 
Bates were on the Duck Ponds ; Mr. Jas. Simpson on the Werribee, 
now Mr. Chirnside's station. The Derwent Company's stations 
extended as high as this one the Native Creek, Murghebolac 
Flat, and Deep Gully stations being all on the road, besides a 
station on the Barrabool Hills, on what is now Mr. Fisher's pur- 
chased land. Dr. Thomson occupied his present house, and held 
the adjacent country towards the coast with stock. The Messrs^ 
Learmouth had a station on my first arrival, which is now a 
portion of this one, on the south side of the Barwon, but they left 
it about May 1838, for Buninyong. At this time there were no 
stations further out in the plains. In May 1838, Major Mercer, 
Mr. Fisher, and myself went out and came on the Wardy Yalloak 
at or about the Frenchman's Inn, and, following the creeks up, 
discovered the run now held by Mr. J. G. McMillan, with those 
now held by Mr. Aitcheson, Mr. C. G. Ferrers, and Mr. A. F. 
Cunningham, as also the cattle run now belonging to the latter, 
and returning home by the Leigh immediately sent out stock, 
and took up in June 1838 the last-named four runs, and not 
long afterwards took up the first. 

In March 1839 we again started with a dray from Mr. 
McMillan's present station, went across to Timboon, which we 
then held temporarily with two flocks of sheep for Messrs. Mani- 
fold, who had penetrated through the Stony Rises, and discovered 
their present run. From Timboon we went on to Taylor's River, 
where Mr. F. Taylor, in charge of sheep belonging to Messrs. 
McKillop and Smith, had been about a fortnight. This station is 
now held bv Mr. N. Black. From thence we went on to Mt_ 

15G Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Shadwell, under which the Derwent Company had two flocks. 
This station is now held by Mr. Burke (recently purchased from 
Captain Webster). Leaving this (the last station) we went by 
Mount House, Mount Napier, across to Mount Sturgeon, thence 
following the edge of the plains, crossed the Fiery Creek, 
Hopkins, &c., and, by Mount Emu and Emu Hill, back to Mr. 
McMillan's station, from whence we started. 

The station on Murghebolac Flat, afterwards held by the 
Derweut Company, was originally taken up by the Messrs. Yuille, 
but before my arrival they had moved, in consequence, I believe, 
of one of their number having been killed by the natives. The station 
(now Mr. P. Sharpens) on the Native Creek, on the old road to 
the Leigh, was originally taken up by Mr. J. G. Ware. Mr. W. 
Harding occupied, on account of Mr. Highett, the station (now 
Mr. A. Hopkins's) on the Muddy Lake and adjoining this, and 
on their afterwards separating formed the Mount Hesse stations 
(his present ones) on his own account, but the dates of these I 
am unable to give. Captain Pollock occupied the station, in 1838, 
(now purchased land) at Pollock's Ford, on the Barwon this is 
the spot where Messrs. Gellibrand and Hesse were last seen and 
transferred it to Mr. J. Allan, who, in 1842-3, I fancy, acquired 
the station now held by Messrs. Russell, Simson, and Russell, 
from Mr. C. P. Tilley, who originally settled it. Mr. A. must 
have sold to Mr. James Austin, who sold (1851) to Messrs. R., 
S., and R. 

Mr. Prentice originally took up the station held now by Mr. 
A. F. Cunningham Warrambine lately Mr. John Thomson's. 
This run was allotted to my father on the division of the Derwent 
Company in June 1842, as also the Mount Mercer cattle station 
now belonging to Mr. A. F. Cunningham. 

As regards the natives of the colony, my intercourse with 
them was little, chiefly in the neighbourhood of Geelong. When 
out on the expedition by Mount Rouse and Mount Sturgeon we 
were, under the latter hill, very nearly attacked by a band. The 
aborigines about Geelong were, after the first year, always quiet. 
They killed two of the Port Phillip Association's (or Derwent 
Company's) men on Indented Head in 1836. The Buninyoug 
natives were occasionally troublesome, both in their own country 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 157 

and even down as far as this. Could I be of any assistance to you 
I beg you will command my services, and I will be happy to add 
any information I may just at present have forgotten, as this is 
written rather hurriedly. 

I remain, Sir, 

Yours faithfully, 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Melbourne. 

No. 29. 

DEAR SIR Melbourne, 13th August 1853. 

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your circular letter of 
date 29th ultimo, in which you ask for information respecting the 
first settlement of various portions of this colony. 

In reply, I beg leave to say that any information in my power 
to communicate will, I fear, prove very meagre, inasmuch as it 
was not until 1841 that I arrived in the colony, and I have never 
myself taken up any new country, but have invariably purchased 
from others who preceded me. It is, however, within my know- 
ledge that all the country on the Wimmera to the north and west 
of the Pyrenees, from W. J. T. Clarke's and Smythe's stations 
to Lake Hindmarsh, was unoccupied prior to the year 1844. In 
that year, the flocks of Messrs. Brodie and Cruikshauk, Messrs. 
Taylor and McPherson, Messrs. Wilsons, Major Firebrace, Philip 
D. Rose, and others, were first settled on the country in the 
neighbourhood of Horsham and Mount Arapiles. 

It was in August 1845 that I purchased Messrs. Brodie and 
Cruikshank's live stock, with the right to their station known by 
the name of " Wonwondah," and in connexion with my partner, 
Mr. C. P. Pynsent, I still retain that establishment. I have 
reason to believe that the aboriginal population (although not 
nearly so numerous here as on the Murray) were very troublesome,, 
and caused great losses to the settlers during the first year they 
occupied this part of the country, but since that period they 

158 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

became nearly harmless, and appear to have greatly diminished in 

The neighbourhood of the Glenelg was much earlier settled. 
It was in 1840 that the flocks of Messrs. James Jackson and M. 
Gibson, after rejecting the fine plains from the Leigh to Mount 
Elephant and Mount Shadwell, and also the rich country of the 
Wannon, were finally settled down on the precipitous and heathy 
banks of the Glenelg. 

It was in 1846 that I purchased Messrs. Jackson and Gibson's 
live stock, with the right to their " Roseneath " stations on the 
Glenelg, which, in 1849, I sold to Mr. John Ralston, the present 

The country on the Lower Loddon, Lower Avoca, and Lower 
Murray, remained unoccupied until the year 1847. 

In that year there was a great rush to this quarter. The flocks 
arid herds of Messrs. Booth and Argyle, A. M. Campbell, Mr. 
Cowper, Messrs. Curlewis and Campbell, A. Beveridge, and others, 
occupied for the first time this fine pastoral country. 

In 1849 I purchased Messrs. Curlewis and Campbell's live 
stock, with the right to their extensive stations, all which I still 

The aboriginal inhabitants of the LoAver Murray are more 
numerous and a finer race than any other native tribe I have seen 
in Australia. The comparatively warm, short winter of this 
neighbourhood, and the abundance of fish and game, may in part 
account for this. I can furnish no estimate of their numbers, but, 
as far as I am able to judge, their decrease here is much more 
gradual than elsewhere ; and although there have been numerous 
instances of aggression on their part (one of which, the murder of 
Mr. Beveridge, may be in your recollection), the native population 
of the Lower Murray have, on the whole, proved much more 
useful to the settlers than those of any other district with which 
I am acquainted. 

Yours very truly, 


To His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 159 


No. 30. 

g IR Melbourne, 9th August 1853. 

I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 
July 26th, which reached me three days ago. 

In cheerfully complying with your request, I must express 
regret that I can afford so little information. 

I arrived in Port Phillip towards the end of the year 1838, 
and about six weeks afterwards proceeded to Cape Schanck, 
accompanied by William Ryrie, Esq., to look at a tract of country 
which had just been taken up, with a herd of 800 head of cattle 
from Maneroo, by an overseer in the employ of Charles Campbell, 
Esq., Sydney. 

By the advice of Mr. Ryrie (the stock and run being for sale) 
I proceeded to Sydney overland, completed the purchase, and 
took possession from the 1st of January 1839. The boundaries 
of the run were very indefinite, as 1 was the only settler on the 
coast side of Arthur's Seat, and all the country from Point Nepean 
to Cape Schanck, now comparatively so thickly populated, was 
then in undisputed possession of the kangaroo, emu, and native 
dog, the first of these running literally in large herds. 

Between my run and Melbourne, a distance of about 70 miles, 
there was but one settler, Mr. Edward Hobson, located at Kange- 
rong, at the base of Arthur's Seat. 

About the month of July 1839, Messrs. Hobson, Desailly, and 
myself, accompanied by three aboriginal natives, carted a whale- 
boat from Kangerong to Western Port, for the purpose of ex- 
ploring the country in the neighbourhood of that bay. The re- 
sult of the expedition was my taking possession of the run at 
the head of Western Port, known afterwards as Yalloak, and 
moving my stock there, with the exception of about 150 head of 
cattle, which, with my right to the Cape Schanck run, I sold to 
Messrs. Willoughby and Thomson. Mr. Thomson afterwards 
sold to the present occupant, John Barker, Esq. 

For a considerable period after occupying Yalloak, the only 
settlers beyond me were Messrs. Anderson and Massie, who had an 
agricultural establishment on the Bass River, and sent their pro- 

160 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

duce to market by water, employing for that purpose small vessels 
of from 20 to 30 tons burthen. I retained possession of Yalloak 
Station till the year 1845, when 1 sold out to Henry Moor, Esq. 

In the beginning of 1839 there were very few settlers on the 
south side of the Yarra. Messrs. Ryrie were the highest up the 
river ; betAveen them, and near to town, were Messrs. Wood and 
one or two others. On the road to Western Port was the Dande- 
nong Station, superintended by A. Langhorne, Esq., and beyond 
it there were, I think, only Ruffy's and O'Connor's stations, 
while lastly, on what is now the Point Nepean road, was the 
solitary station of Mr. Hobson. 

The tribe of aboriginal natives, known as the Western Port 
blacks, numbered, I should imagine, when I knew them first, 
upwards of 300 ; but, on this point, Mr. Assistant Protector 
Thomas would be an authority. 

During the seven years of my residence in the bush I saw a 
great deal of the natives, and invariably found them quiet, inoffen- 
sive, and willing, in their way, to be useful. They never did me 
any harm intentionally, and on many occasions really helped me ; 
although any attempt to induce one or more of them to settle to 
any steady work, however light, even for a single day, was 
utterly vain. I believe I may safely say that the settlers south 
of the Yarra were invariably kind to the natives, and there are, 
I believe, few if any instances of ingratitude in return on 

I was not, however, so fortunate with the aboriginal natives 
of Grippsland, who, before the occupation of that district by white 
men, came to attack the Western Port tribe, and, making my 
station, did a considerable amount of damage ; but fortunately, 
no lives Avere lost. 

Again regretting the scanty nature of the information furnished 

to you, 

I am, Sir, 

Your most obedient sen r ant, 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 161 

No. 31. 

MY DEAR SIR, 10th September 1853. 

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 29th 
July, and feel great pleasure in affording every information in my 
power on the subjects referred to therein; but I regret that, owing 
to the loss of my journal (which, for the first two or three years 
residence in the colony, I kept as a reference) by the melancholy 
occurrence occasioned by the flood in the Werribee last year, any 
which I can afford from memory will be of a very meagre and 
unsatisfactory nature. 

The settlement of this colony of Victoria originated with my 
father's brother, Mr. John Helder Wedge, and Mr. John Batman 
(I think, owing to some observations made relative to the proximity 
of the two lands by Sir Geo. Arthur, then Lieutenant-Governor 
of Van Diemen's Land, whom they had accompanied on an ex- 
ploratory expedition to the north coast of that island), when in 
1835 a company was formed, and an expedition despatched, under 
Mr. Batman, to report on the nature of the country and its 
adaptation to the growth of wool, as an outlet for our surplus 
stock was then beginning to be severely felt. Immediately on 
the return of that expedition, and on the report of its leader of 
the great fertility of the soil being bruited abroad, several private 
adventurers as well as the company previously formed determined 
on the occupation of the country. 

In the end of that year or beginning of 1836, the first sheep 
were landed where Williamstown now stands, and the stations of 
the Messrs. Wedge and Mr. Simpson then formed on the river 
Werribee, at the confluence of the salt and fresh water. The 
tribe of natives occupying that part of the country were found to 
be very peacefully disposed, in a great measure owing, doubtless, 
to the facilities for communication afforded by the long residence 
among them of a runaway prisoner of the Crown, named Buckley, 
who had escaped from a party despatched from Sydney for the 
formation of a settlement in Port Phillip in the year 1803, and 
which was abandoned for the want of water. Vessels were now 
constantly leaving Launceston, Van Diemen's Land, with stock 

162 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

for the newly-discovered country, which, in the vicinity of what 
is now known as Melbourne and G-eelong, was fast filling up. 

It is, perhaps, worthy of notice that shortly after, or about 
the time of the arrival of our expedition from Van Diemen's 
Land, in New South Wales an expedition was fitted out by the 
Government at Sydney, under Major (now Sir Thomas) Mitchell, 
then Surveyor-General, for the exploration of the same country, 
who, on his arrival on the coast, in Portland Bay, was astonished 
to find a large whaling establishment there, the property of the 
Messrs. Henty, who, on the report of Sir T. Mitchell of the 
grazing capabilities of the country to the northward of the port, 
immediately commenced, and with great labour succeeded in 
cutting, a road through the forest, and formed a sheep station on 
what is now known as the " Merino Downs." 

Shortly after the first arrivals, a Mr. Franks, who had formed 
a sheep station at Mount Cotterill, on the river Werribee, was 
killed by the natives, which outrage was at the time attributed 
to their anxiety to obtain axes, blankets, flour, &c., the value of 
which soon became apparent to them. 

Owing to the report of Sir Thomas Mitchell, some of the 
most enterprising of the stock-holders on the outskirts of civili- 
zation in New South Wales were induced, by the advantages of 
being near a shipping port, to travel their stock overland to Port 
Phillip, amongst whom, as the first arrivals, may be mentioned 
Messrs. Ebden, Hawdon, Hepburn, Coghill, Howey, Yaldwin, 
&c., who were fast followed by many others, and rapidly filled 
up the country in the neighbourhood of the coast. 

In the year 1839 vessels began to arrive from England and 
Scotland, the settlement of the colony having attracted consider- 
able notice at home. Stock-holders also began to push more 
into the interior, the earlier settlers having confined themselves to 
the coast line, and I, with my brothers, removed our stock to the 
country at the foot of the Grampians, now known as the Grange, 
on the creeks forming the river Wannon in the Australia Felix 
of Major Sir Thomas Mitchell, to which part of the country I 
was followed by Mr. John Cox, Dr. Martin, Messrs. Whyte, Barton 
and Aylward, Norris, &c., after which the country soon became 
fully occupied. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 103 

Upon my arrival at Portland Bay, to which place I had 
-directed stores to be shipped to me from Launceston, I, to my 
surprise, found the establishment previously alluded to, in the 
occupation of Messrs. Henty. Here I also found the Messrs. 
Winter, who had also formed a sheep station on the Merino 
Downs, part of the Australia Felix of Sir T. Mitchell, which was 
very soon fully occupied with stock from the opposite shore. 
Herds of cattle and flocks of sheep were also now pressing on 
their way to Adelaide. 

Up to this time we had but little trouble with the aborigines, 
but they now began to attack our shepherds, whom they drove 
from their flocks, which they took into the mountains known as 
the Victoria Range, where they disposed of many hundreds of 
them by killing, maiming by breaking three of their legs, and 
otherwise mutilating them in a cruel manner to prevent their 
escape, and resisting (their numbers giving them confidence) 
recovery. At this time they also killed a valuable horse and cow 
belonging to me, and drove away the whole of my milking cattle 
and working bullocks, some of which returned with spears in 
them ; and these depredations did not cease till many lives were 
sacrificed, and, I may say, many thousands of sheep destroyed. 

In the hope that the very small amount of information I am 
able to afford may be of use to you, 

I beg to remain, my dear Sir, 

Yours very truly, 

C. J. La Trobe, Esq., Melbourne. 

No. 32. 

Portland, 13th August 1853. 

I received Your Excellency's note of the 27th ult. some days 
ago, but delayed replying to it till I had satisfied myself by 
inquiry on some points I was doubtful about. 

164 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

In January 1840, Messrs. Addison and Murray brought sheep 
from Van Dieraen's Land, and took up " Dunrobin " (the first 
station formed on the Glenelg), on the west bank of the river, 
above its junction with the Wannon, and were immediately fol- 
lowed by Mr. McCulloch, who took up the station known as the 
Retreat, on the east bank of the river, near its junction with 
the Wando. It is now occupied, I believe, by Messrs. Carmichael. 

Messrs. Whyte Bros, took up their station, " Konongwootong," 
on Bryant's Creek, and Messrs. J. G. Robertson and W. Corney 
took up their stations, Wando Vale and Cashmere, on the Wando, 
about the same time. 

In March or April 1840, Mr. Norris took up Koot Narin (now 
occupied by Messrs. Swanston and Willis, and Stawell and Ellis), 
comprising both sides of the Glenelg Chetwynd, and Pigeon 
Ponds ; and in about July or August Mr. Ricketts took up 
" Clunie," the station immediately above it, and now occupied on 
the east bank by myself, and on the west bank by Mr. Whittaker 
and Mr. Hamilton, and at the same time, " Fulham," still higher 
up, and now occupied by Mr. Armytage, was taken up by Mr. 
Desailly for, I think, Sir John Owen. 

In 1842 Mr. Winter took up a station on the east bank of the 
river below the junction of the Crawford, but, after some time, 
abandoned it, and it was again taken up by Dr. Macdonald in 
1844, and in 1845 Mr. T. Scott took up a station on the west 
bank. About this time, or soon after, Mr. Lang took up a station 
oil the east and Mr. Black upon the west bank, near the mouth. 

Messrs. Whyte Brothers were the only settlers I heard of 
being annoyed by the aborigines as early as 1840, but they 
tracked those gentlemen on their route from Melbourne, and 
harassed them in every way setting fire to the grass round them, 
throwing spears at their shepherds, and stealing their sheep. 

It was not, however, till 1841 and 1842 that aboriginal ag- 
gressions became of frequent occurrence. Shepherds were then 
constantly murdered, and their sheep driven off sometimes 50 or 
60 miles, and, as they were usually found with their legs broken, 
they were valueless to their owners. 

Mr. Ricketts, the original proprietor of " Clunie," lost so 
severely by their frequent incursions that he became insolvent in 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 1G5 

1844, and I purchased the station from his trustees. Since then 
the natives have been quiet, but I believe they were troublesome 
as late as 1845 on a station at Mount Arapiles, which was just 
then taken up by Mr. Urquhart. 

I have no idea of the number of the aborigines at that time, 
nor do I think it possible to estimate it. They were shy and 
stealthy, holding no intercourse with whites, and seldom seen by 
the settlers unless when detected in committing an outrage or 
overtaken in retreating with their plunder ; and as they frequently 
travelled very long distances to commit outrages, no one could tell 
to what part of the district they belonged. 

I am, my dear Mr. La Trobe, 

Respectfully and faithfully yours, 


His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

No. 33. 

^ Melbourne, 13th September 1853. 

Agreeable to your request, I have the honour to furnish Your 
Excellency with the little information I possess with regard to 
the early settlement of Port Phillip. 

Early in the year 1837, when Melbourne was then a forest of 
large timber, I sent 2,000 female sheep from Van Diemen's Land, 
and took up Station Peak and a portion of the Little River for 
nearly two years, where my sheep increased rapidly. The natives 
in that part were quiet and well disposed, but unwilling to work. 
The run I took up was capable of depasturing from 15,000 to 
20,000 sheep. The first year my clip was only 17 bales of wool ; 
the second, 36 bales ; the third, 70 bales ; and it continued to in- 
crease almost in the same proportion. After remaining at the 
above station other settlers arrived, and contentions commenced 
about runs, when I left my station with my little improvements as 
they stood, to those that liked to occupy them, and travelled my 
sheep about fifteen miles north of Buninyong, where I took up a 

1G6 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

station called Dowliug Forest, where my sheep increased, and the 
quality and quantity of the wool also. 

Shortly after occupying that country, many settlers soon 
followed, and disputes commenced about my run. Being deter- 
mined to have a sheep-walk, in 1841 I again removed to the 
Pyrenees with a portion of my sheep, and took up a large tract of 
poor but healthy sheep land of about 180,000 acres, where I was 
unfortunate with my sheep the first two years in consequence of 
the scab and the difficulty of procuring labour, it then being con- 
sidered so far back beyond all other settlers, and the natives being 
numerous soon became aware of their superiority in strength over 
my establishment and commenced their attacks on the shepherds, 
when the latter refused to take out their flocks alone ; conse- 
quently I was obliged, a.t great cost, to send two shepherds with 
one flock. Nor was it safe to leave one man as hut-keeper. The 
blacks, seeing their superior strength, commenced driving off a 
number of sheep in defiance of the shepherds and destroying them 
wantonly, and slaughtering them for their support. On one 
occasion, one of my overseers and shepherds traced them to one 
of the high mountains, where they had a large quantity of my 
sheep slaughtered for use, and they drove off my people and 
retained their plunder. There was one native soon discovered to 
be more notorious than the rest. He was given the name of Billy 
Billy, who reigned several years. He, with the assistance of a 
number of the tribe, drove off a considerable number of my sheep 
and formed a station north of mine, at a place which is now well 
known as Billy Billy's Water Holes, where they made a bush- 
yard and shepherded the sheep during the day and yarded them 
in the usual way at night, and when discovered the remaining 
sheep were recovered with considerable difficulty. Such was the 
state of the station for nearly two years. When my people found 
it necessary to defend themselves, a number of the blacks, I am 
sorry to say, was shot. A Mr. Francis, the overseer of the station, 
was many times engaged in the fights with them. He was after- 
wards murdered by one of the shepherds on the station, by being 
stabbed with a shears-blade ; the offender was brought to Mel- 
bourne, and found guilty of the murder. Soon after the natives 
became less numerous, and peaceable, taking occasionally a sheep 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 1C 7 

or two out of the folds at night, but seldom came into contact with 
those in charge. When labour became more abundant, and the 
scab cured, the sheep increased rapidly, so much so that the stock 
of 2,000 I commenced with, now count upwards of 80,000, and I 
have sold and boiled down for these last four years, on an average, 
12,000 per annum, and have shipped, from this stock alone, for 
several years past, nearly 800 bales of wool, worth upwards of 20 
per bale. Notwithstanding the present result, I beg to observe the 
loss was great for the first seven years. Having had occasion to 
have the stations of Dowling Forest and Pyrenees valued seven 
years after I first settled, the expense of carrying them on, with 
first cost of sheep, &c., with interest added, amounted to double 
the amount of the highest value that could be then set on them, 
after giving credit for all sales of wool, &c. This arose chiefly 
from the great difference in the value of sheep, as when I shipped 
the original from Van Diemen's Land, sheep were worth upwards 
of 2 per head, and, at the expiration of seven years, they were 
only worth from 3s. to 3s. 6d., for which price I bought one of 
the best stations in Victoria, situated at the Maiden Hills, from a 
Mr. Hodgkinson ; but from that time sheep-farming has gradually 
improved, and every one that has managed his flocks properly 
cannot have any occasion to complain. As to cattle generally, I 
think they have been unproductive previously to the gold-fields, 
having myself purchased 400 head in the year 1840 for 4,000, 
which cattle I kept till the year 1849, and their increase, which 
numbered upwards of 2,200 head, when I sold the whole for 
3,300, giving one, two, and three years' credit without interest. 
I also established a herd of horses, that increased and paid 
exceedingly well. 

I have the honour to be, 

Your Excellency's most obedient servant, 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

168 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


I arrived in Sydney from London in the latter end of 
September 1839. The weather was very hot, the glare very 
great, the dust abominable. I knew no one, and I was glad to 
get out of it without loss of time. I had read the treatises on sheep 
and cattle in the " Library of Useful Knowledge," and had en- 
deavoured to gain some information respecting colonial life from 
Major Mitchell's " Travels in Australia," Mr. Waugh's " Three 
Years' Experience," and Dr. Lang's " New South Wales," all 
which works I had industriously perused on the voyage. Beyond 
this, my general information regarding live stock was limited to 
a confused knowledge of sheep by their distinctive titles of rams, 
wethers, and ewes ; and a vague idea of cattle as heifers, cows, 
Lulls, and oxen, and as beasts that had horns, and made a great 
bellowing ; but I am not sure that I could have distinguished any 
of either description of animal on view. I had, however, acting 
under the advice of certain prudent relatives in England, fully 
determined on entering on pastoral pursuits, or what I found was 
called in the colony " going into stock," and had armed myself 
with letters of introduction to several gentlemen, who had emi- 
grated a short time before me, with similar views. Amongst 
these was one from Mr. Alex. Hunter, of Edinburgh, whom I had 
met in London, to Messrs. Watson and Hunter, who had sailed 
shortly before me, and who were amply supplied with means to 
form large stations. 

I had an indistinct idea that Port Phillip was to be the field of 
their operations, and a much more indefinite one of how I was to 
get there. Some inquiries, however, in Sydney brought me the 
gratifying intelligence that Mr. Watson was himself in the Sydney 
district at the time, though out of town at that moment ; and 
I was further informed he was on the point of starting with an 
expedition for Port Phillip, in which I made up my mind to join, 
if possible. I accordingly purchased a horse off a Sydney dealer 
as a preliminary step ; and, in five days from my landing, had made 
all the necessary arrangements with Mr. Watson for my forming 
one of his party. We left Sydney, I think, on the 3rd of 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 169 

October, and travelled by easy stages till we reached Sutton 
Forest, where we overtook Mr. Alick Hunter, who had gone on 
before with the drays and horse-stock. From this place we went 
on to Lake George, on the other side of which a property had been 
purchased for the sole purposes of procuring some assigned 
servants, of whom we had twenty in the expedition. In this 
neighbourhood I bought about 300 head of cattle, and made an 
agreement with Mr. Watson to run them with his stock, giving 
him half the increase for two years, and the benefit of my services 
during that time. I recollect nothing particular about the country 
we passed through, except that the bush was very thick, and that 
I was always afraid of losing myself if I left the road, or was out 
of sight of my companions for a moment. We had, also, about 400 
head of cattle bought from a Mrs. Barton, at Berrima, with which 
we fortunately got a stockman " given in," named " Little Sam," 
which, considering our intense " greenness," and the uselessness 
of most of the convict servants, who were just " turned out of 
Government," was of great consequence. Paddy's River, Yass, 
and other well-known localities were passed, and we eventually 
encamped on the Tumut, where some 600 more cattle (with a run) 
had been purchased, which, to add to our trouble, had the character 
of being the wildest brutes in the colony. 

Here our party divided. Mr. Alick Hunter, Mr. Tulloh, and 
the Honourable Gilbert Kennedy went on to Melbourne with the 
horses. Mr. Watson returned to Sydney to wind up some in- 
complete arrangements, whilst I remained with the cattle at the 
Tumut, where we formed a station on the Gilmore Creek. 

Here I added to my fortunes 100 picked heifers, which were 
strongly recommended by the vendor, Mr. Shelley, and also by 
Mr. Watson, whose interested motives in advising the purchase of 
female stock I was too " gullible " to see through at the time. 
My position at the Tumut, with my twenty " Government men," 
about 1,200 head of cattle, and about 30 horses, in a country with 
which I was totally unacquainted, may, perhaps, be conceived, but 
is difficult to describe. I was very much afraid of losing my 
cattle, and therefore tried to keep them within sight, counting 
them regularly every day, which, tonsidering that more than half 
were broken into the run, was an absurdity which nothing but 

170 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

experience convinced me of ; for when we wished to remove them, 
about six weeks after, it was found to be impossible, with our 
insufficient help, to drive them off the run, and we consequently 
formed a permanent station at Gilmore Creek, a tributary of the 
Tumut, where we left the cattle till the next year. The vast 
herds which were travelling from the Sydney district, and the 
probability of the Melbourne markets being overstocked, coupled 
with the difficulties of the road from the flooded state of the rivers, 
confirmed us in this decision. 

My troubles as a squatter commenced very early in my career. 
The great scarcity of flour during the summer of 1839 was felt- 
all over the colony, but in no part more so than in the interior, 
where it was selling at 60 a ton. Even at Government House 
in Sydney, it was said that Lady Gipps was restricted in her 
supplies for pastry. For some weeks our food at the Tumut was 
confined to beef and milk, and a little rice ; but the incessant 
grumbling of the men at last induced me to send a cart to Yass 
for flour. The Tumut was flooded at the time, but I had seen a 
horseman cross, and ventured over myself at the same place. A 
hurdle was lashed on the dray, on which the bedding of the two 
men who were to accompany it was placed, and, with three horses 
harnessed to it, it went boldly into the stream after me. The 
leading horse, about half-way across, turned down the stream, and 
in a moment the cart was afloat, and soon capsized, drowning the 
two other horses and nearly drowning the two men on the hurdle. 
The one was a fine swimmer, and swam out to the leading horse, 
and eventually released him from his harness ; the other clung to 
a log, and was hauled ashore by a rope about ten minutes after- 
wards. A few days after this, the river having partially subsided, 
and the grumbling continuing unabated, a second attempt was 
made, but at another crossing-place, and with only one horse. 
The same occurrence took place again, except that the horse swam 
for a quarter of a mile down the river with the cart after him, and 
was not drowned till a log turned the cart over and rendered him 
helpless the driver, who remained till then on his seat on the 
hurdle up to his neck in water, calling out to me " he was done 
like a dinner." Three hundred pounds worth of horse-flesh went 
in these adventures. I then bought a team of bullocks, and 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 171 

eventually procured a ton of flour from Yass, which lasted the 
party till it reached Melbourne. An overseer was then engaged, 
and the cattle delivered into his care, and on the 24th December 
Mr. Watson and I started in a tandem for Port Phillip. Near the 
Murray we broke both shafts, and had to take to our saddles, 
leaving the remains of the gig and several valuables (amongst 
others my writing case and journals) at an out-station hut of Mr. 
Cockburn's, to be sent on by the drays. Of course, I never saw any 
part of them again. On arriving at the Murray, we overtook several 
expeditions which were waiting for a favourable opportunity to 

There were said to be 10,000 head of cattle on its banks, in 
various " mobs." Messrs. Bolden had crossed several hundreds 
that day, and at night we camped Avith their party. On the 
Ovens we overtook others. The natives had attacked some 
parties in this neighbourhood during the previous summer, and the 
places were pointed out to us where Faithfull's men were murdered, 
and where Snodgrass had had a "stand-up fight with the blacks." 
My own experience of the natives at this time led me to suppose 
they were a very inoffensive race ; for all I had seen had been the 
Bogong blacks, on the Tumut, who came down in the summer 
from the ranges, sleek and lazy from the grub or fly of that name 
which infests that part of the country. I think they were the 
handsomest natives I have ever seen ; at all events they were 
the best conditioned. On the Ovens, however, we saw none. A 
party of mounted police was stationed at the Broken River, who 
entertained us, as they appeared to do all travellers, for a 

The country was all, so far, settled, although we saw no signs of 
it, either by meeting with human habitations or with sheep or cattle. 
If the country was stocked, the stock fed off the road, but we heard 
the names of Barber, Mitchell, Fowler, W. A. Brodribb, Faithfull, 
Mackay, Docker, Binney, Speed, and Anderson, as occupants of 
the various runs through which we passed. At Templeton's, at the 
Seven Creeks, Mr. Watson left me to go up to the Devil's River, 
which he and Mr. Hunter had occupied during the previous spring. 
I remained for a few days at Ballowra, a station Mr. Hunter had 
formed on Templeton's Creek, about three miles above him, but 

172 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

which was about being abandoned for the better country of the 
Devil's River and Mount Battery. I accordingly proceeded alone 
to the " Settlement," as the City of Melbourne was in those days 
called, stopping at Hughes's, Hamilton's at the Sugar Loaf, and 
at a Mr. George's at Kinlochewe, and eventually reached Keilor, 
where Messrs. Watson and Hunter had their head quarters at the 
time. There were no particular charms in Melbourne in those days 
beyond the champagne lunches which always accompanied the 
sales by auction, and of which I partook with others, though I 
never bought any land. One cannot help reflecting on the narrow 
escape from making a fortune which daily fell in one's way, when 
we look at the properties which were to be had for a few pounds at 
the time, now bringing in thousands per annum. However, I 
was never destined to this, and I soon returned to the bush, 
and devoted myself to learning my trade as a squatter. A 
serious illness which attacked me at Mount Battery, however, 
threw impediments in my way. I was confined to my bed 
with bilious fever for several weeks, and on my recovery went 
back to Melbourne, from whence, by the advice of the medi- 
cal men, I went by sea to Sydney. A few weeks' nursing at 
Parramatta restored me to health, and in May I returned to 
Melbourne in the Cumberland, chartered by Mr. Button. I was 
then about proceeding in her to Valparaiso to buy horses, and had 
secured my passage, when the news of a bad sale of South 
American horse-stock in Sydney deterred us from entering into the 
speculation, and I went back again with Mr. Hunter to Sydney to 
make further purchases of horses and cattle, taking some 16,000 
with us for the purpose. After a few days' delay, I accompanied 
Mr. Terence Murray to his station near Queanbeyan, to attend a 
large sale in which he was interested, and to purchase cattle if I 
thought it advisable. Failing in getting what I liked (for I had 
by this time become a judge of stock), I went on to the Tumut, to 
collect our leavings of the previous year, where I was shortly 
after joined by Mr. Hunter and his cousins with more cattle and 
horses. We had altogether about 2,000 head and about 70 horses, 
with which we again started for Port Phillip, and after many 
losses and crosses, eventually formed our main cattle station on 
.the upper part of the Broken River, about four miles above the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneer*. 173 

station at present in the occupation of Mr. John Moore. From 
the Broken River to the Devil's River, crossing the Mount Battery 
plains, a distance of about 20 miles, the whole country was 
claimed and stocked by Messrs. Watson and Hunter. Messrs. 
Stevens and Thomson were camped upon the Broken River, 
about three miles above the cattle station, but only remained 
till they had shorn their sheep, when they moved towards the 

During the winter that I remained at the Devil's RiA r er, I was 
a witness of the fatal effects of catarrh in sheep. The climate 
was very severe, the frosts and fogs frequently lasting all day. 
The sheep could not be let out of the yards on many days till 
noon. How the disease came into that neighbourhood (if it is really 
contagious) I do not know, but if any climate could produce it I 
am sure that of the Devil's River in 1840 was quite trying enough. 
I have seen as many as 500 sheep dead at the yards in a single 
night. There were some settlers who had come with a few sheep 
above us on the Devil's River. I think their names were 
McFarlane and Mitchell ; their loss was more severe than Messrs. 
Watson and Hunter's. We used to fancy that the river was affected 
by their throwing the carcasses into the stream, though this is not 
probable, as they were 16 or 20 miles above us, and the river was 
a considerable one. 

During this year I formed one of a party, consisting of Mr. 
Alick Hunter, Mr. Archibald Jamieson, an overseer, and a black- 
fellow named " Pigeon" (who was afterwards drowned at the 
wreck of the Salthouse), that started to find a road into Gippsland 
for stock, which Strzelecki's discovery had just opened as a field 
for Port Phillip enterprise. We ascended what we took for a 
leading range to the south-west of Mount Buller, but found our- 
selves in a most difficult succession of gullies, in which we 
struggled for eighteen days, and eventually camped on the head 
waters of the La Trobe. My horse had met with an accident in 
falling down a steep bank, and I remained with Pigeon at our 
camp on the river while my companions went on to see what they 
could of the new country. In three days they returned, having 
reached a rich plain and fine herbage, I conclude, part of the run 
afterwards occupied by Mr. Reeve. On our return we got upon a 

174 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

leading range in right good earnest, which in two days took us 
back to the head of the Goulburn ; but the descent was considered 
too steep for stock, and the idea of bringing a herd by that route 
was abandoned. 

Mr. Tyers aftenvards tried to follow on our returning tracks, 
but lost his horses, and gave up the attempt to reach Gippsland 
from that entrance, and I am not aware that it has yet been con- 
sidered practicable. 

The time was now drawing near when my agreement with 
Mr. Watson was about expiring, and I was most anxious for it, 
as I found that cattle in halves was not a profitable speculation 
to the proprietor. An attempt had been made to muster the whole 
herd in March, but it proved ineffectual, and it was not till October 
that I eventually got delivery of my stock. I now made an agree- 
ment with Mr. Riley, of the Wannon, to put my cattle on his run, 
he undertaking to hand his heifer station over to me if we did not 
continue to keep our cattle together ; and early in November 
1841, I left the Devil's River, and drove my herd to Melbourne, 
where I sold all the butchers would buy, and, after providing my- 
self with a dray and stores, started for the west with the remainder, 
somewhere about 300 head. We passed by Lai Lai, Buninyong, 
BailhVs, and Mount Emu, which country was all occupied right and 
left of us, and crossed the plains to Lake Boloke, which was the 
only vacant spot I saw. Wyselaski was at the crossing place of the 
Hopkins, where his station now is. Dr. Martin, under the guidance 
of Mr. James Manning, who had sold his cattle with the condition 
that he was to find a run for them, had occupied Mount Sturgeon, 
the station being at the time under the charge of Mr. Knowles. 
Beyond him, to the west on the Wannon, was Mr. Barnett, now 
Chirnside's, and next to him was Mr. Riley, where my head 
quarters were for twelve months. During this time I saw a good 
deal of the surrounding country. At the Grange, a police magis- 
trate, Mr. French, was establishing himself ; and in the month of 
June of the same year I had the honour of being appointed a magis- 
trate, and assisted him regularly on the bench. Mr. Riley's station 
had been occupied by a Mr. Gibson (whose wife was famous for 
some extraordinary journeys she made to Melbourne, accompanied 
by a single male attendant), was abandoned by him, and afterwards 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 175 

taken up by a Mr. Norris, who suffered so severely from depreda- 
tions committed by the blacks that he had also given it up. The 
natives had, however, by all accounts, been taught some severe 
lessons, and had learnt to be better behaved ; but they were still 
what was usually termed in the bush "very troublesome." We 
had in the meantime occupied Englefield, on the Glenelg, as our 
heifer station, and had erected the necessary improvements there ; 
but we found that the natives continually intimidated the men, 
and whilst absent from the hut had occasionally stolen their 
rations, and it was eventually determined to give up the heifer- 
tailing scheme, and the station was abandoned. Dr. Edward 
Barker, who had come into that neighbourhood on my recommenda- 
tion, immediately occupied it. A few months' residence there, and 
a partnership which he had in the meantime formed with Mr. 
Riley, induced him to sell it back to me for the value of the im- 
provements 50, and in the summer of 1842 I again took pos- 
session of it. My cattle had, in the meantime, discovered other 
country for themselves on the head of Bryant's Creek, but the 
arrival of Mr. Cadden, previously an overseer of Mr. John Hunter 
Patterson's, with sheep and cattle, soon dislodged them. Mr. Arch- 
dale next came in between me and the Wannon with sheep and 
cattle of Mr. Hyde, of the Green Hills, near Bacchus Marsh, 
and eventually, under the orders of Captain Fyans, the Crown 
Commissioner, I was hemmed in within very moderate bounds. 

The jealousy with which we heard of the arrival of any one 
in our neighbourhood, notwithstanding the vast tracts of land that 
we each laid claim to, was one of the remarkable features of our 
early settlement. I recollect my stockkeeper coming in one even- 
ing with a story of a dray-track across the Congbool Plain, as it 
was called, about eight miles to the southward, and some coffee 
spilt along it, and soon after finding we had a neighbour in a Mr. 
Mather, a carpenter from Melbourne with a few sheep, who was 
soon after killed by the falling of a tree near his hut. He was 
known, in consequence, as the " coffee merchant " till his death. 
There was no one at this time above me on the Glenelg ; and the 
stringy -bark ranges came in upon the river so determinedly for 
many miles that we imagined, for a long time, there was no avail- 
able country in that direction; but Mr. Cadden soon after discovered 

176 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

a small creek running into the river, which would serve his pur- 
pose as a washing place for his sheep, in the event of the water in 
Bryant's Creek failing, which was considered more than probable. 
He soon, however, deserted the out-station he formed there, which 
was then taken possession of by Messrs. Urquhart and Glen- 
dinning, where they formed their head-station. It is now held by 
Mr. Mackintosh. Above him, again, Mr. D. C. Simson occupied 
both sides of the river, immediately under the Victoria range, 
and adjoining what is now Mr. Rose's station in the Grampians. 
This was not till 1843, in which year also Mr. Charles Sherratt, 
who had come from a station of Messrs. Heape and Grice's at 
Mount Alexander, arrived on the opposite side of the river to 
me, and occupied the frontage to it for many miles. He politely 
came to my hut and asked me what I claimed, and took what I 
did not want. Below me, Mr. Desailly was in possession of, the 
station now held by Mr. Armytage, having occupied it with sheep 
from Van Diemen's Land for Sir John Owen. About this time, 
however, the station got into Chancery, and in 1842 was managed 
by Mr. George Fairbairn, who now has the adjoining stations of 
Mather and Affleck, the latter having been admitted by me on to 
a part of my run during the winter of this year (as they were old 
servants of my friends the Hunters) on the express condition that 
they should return the station to me when the weather would 
allow them to look for another. They, however, sold it in spite 
of me to my neighbours for 50. 

Below Desailly, Ricketts (who had been removed from the 
Buntingdale Mission Station on the Barwon on its occupation by 
the natives) had in 1841 taken up the stations now held by Mr. 
Blair, as well as those occupied, on the opposite side of the 
Glenelg, by Mr. Thomas Hamilton of Koot Narin, and Mr. 
Donaldson of Longlands, now Messrs. Whittaker's. Mr. Norris, 
whose compulsory abandonment of the Wannon I have mentioned, 
came next on the river, taking up both sides, with sheep belonging 
to Mr. Thomas Winter, of Van Diemen's Land. This station, com- 
prising the Pigeon Ponds and Chetwynd country, was subse- 
quently sold to Messrs. Kerr and Swanston, and is now divided 
into two runs, occupied by Messrs. Willis and Swanston and 
Messrs. Stawell and Ellis. Mr. Gibson, who had first occupied 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 177 

Mr. Riley's station on the Wannou, came next on the river. Very 
little of the country which had not frontage to the main rivers 
was considered available at this time. It was not till 1844 that 
Mr. John Airey sent a party, consisting of a Mr. Mann and 
his overseer, with about 3,000 sheep, to look for country in my 

I had an indistinct notion, from various cattle hunts in that 
direction, that there must be plenty of good country to the north- 
west of me across the river, and advised them accordingly, and 
they returned to my station in a week, having discovered the 
Mount Talbot country, which, if they had occupied all they could 
at the time, would have been one of the finest runs in the whole 
colony. The want of water was for a long time considered its 
only deficiency, though it is now covered with many immense 
lakes, several of which are from 12 to 14 feet deep. In the sum- 
mer of this year several others passed to the westward, and the 
"new country," as it was called, was occupied by Wallace, 
Hope, Bates, Ballantyne, McLeod, &c. 

The collisions with the blacks, which I had heard of on almost 
every station after my arrival in the Western District, if they took 
place at all, were kept very quiet. 

There were certain hangers-on at stations (Tulloh at the 
Grange, for instance) who boasted of such encounters ; but it 
was generally believed that those who talked most knew least of 
such scenes. Their aggressions, however, whether avenged or 
not, were not infrequent. I had a horse which till his death 
would never go near a tree, my stock-keeper having been attacked 
by the blacks from behind one. On another occasion the blacks 
were seen driving my cattle through a swamp, and holding on by 
their tails, and spearing them as they went. 

I recollect a cow being brought into the stockyard stuck 
all over with spears, like a porcupine. We extracted them, and 
she lived and fattened, and was eventually sold fat in Melbourne. 
On my first settlement at Englefield, in tracking cattle I came 
upon a place where the blacks had within a few days camped 
some stolen sheep in bough-yards, and where the torn fleeces and 
broken legs and joints, since gnawed by wild dogs, told a tale of 
wasteful destruction. It was scarcely to be wondered at that the 

178 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

settlers took the law into their own hands on such occasions. 
Whether it was fear or a better acquaintance with us which 
worked upon them, it is difficult to say ; but about 1843-4 wo 
heard no more of sheep-stealing in the neighbourhood, and the 
blacks, who had always fought very shy of my station where 
"Cranky Jem," my hut-keeper, had the reputation of being a 
good rifle shot, which was clearly proved by the holes in all the 
trees round, where bullets had been cut out commenced to come 
about, and offer to strip bark and make themselves useful. They 
are not generally very much wanted on a cattle station, and I 
seldom encouraged their advances. Later, in 1845, I had a black 
boy named " Bill," from the Mount Rouse tribe, who remained 
with me for about eighteen months, when the summer amusements 
of his relatives and companions proved an irresistible temptation 
for him, and he bolted. I could, however, place implicit confi- 
dence in him, and found him most obedient and docile, and a great 
deal more cleanly in his person than most of the white men with 
whom he lived. On one occasion I had taken him to Geelong to 
bring back some cattle. My stock-keeper was drowned at Fyans' 
Ford, and the cattle remained in the sole charge of Bill for a 
couple of days, until assistance was sent to him. He watched 
them night and day, and did not lose one. I have heard that he 
has since returned to the present proprietors of my station, and is 
still a useful member of society. 

In the summer of 1842 I returned with a stockkeeper to the 
Devil's River to collect the leavings of my herd. At Lake 
Repose, near Mount Sturgeon, I came upon Major Mitchell's 
tracks, and followed the marks left by his heavy boat-carriage 
across the Hopkins Plains to the Fiery Creek, where I found my 
friends, Messrs. Stevens and Thomson, shearing their sheep under 
a tarpaulin, and, passing through the runs of the Campbells and 
Donald & Hamilton, slept in a shepherd's watch-box on Mr. 
Irvine's run at the Amphitheatre. This was my first visit to the 
district for which I am now Commissioner. The Wimmera at this 
time was not occupied below Clarke's. Mr. Lynott had taken 
up what was afterwards " Decameron " for Dr. Imlay. Irvine 
had crept in above him on the river and between him and Messrs. 
Donald & Hamilton, disputing right and left. In 1842 Decameron 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 179 

was sold to Mr. James Allan Cameron, late of the 13th Light 
Dragoons, for 1,500, who lately sold it to Mr. Charles Wil- 
liamson for 30,000. Below Clarke's, which was managed by 
Messrs. Pettett and Francis (the latter was killed by one of his 
own men), with sheep from Dowling Forest, originally brought 
from Van Diemen's Land, there was no head station, though 
Blow, who originally occupied the Allanvale country for Mr. 
Sinclair, of Van Diemen's Land, laid claim to what was subse- 
quently sold to Dr. Blundell and Mrs. Greene. The latter 
run was bought for 500, and sold lately to Mr. McMillan for 

Briggs (from whom Briggs' Bluff at the Grampians derives 
its name) came next on the river, having out-stations near where 
the Four Posts Inn or Glenorchy now is. The lower part of the 
river was next taken up by Darlot in 1843, and after him, what 
he had passed through as valueless was occupied by Messrs. 
Taylor and McPherson, who have since divided two of the finest 
runs in the district. Back from the river, on the McKenzie Creek, 
Messrs. Brodie and Cruikshank took up about this time the Won- 
wondah Station, now Messrs. Splatt and Pynsent's. Below Mr. 
Darlot, Major Firebrace took up the Vectis Station on the river, 
disputing part of it with the Messrs. Wilson, who ultimately 
squeezed in between him and Mr. Darlot, about three miles below 
the present township of Horsham ; and Messrs. Baillie and 
Hamilton took possession of Major Firebrace's leavings again 
lower down the river. Ellerman came in about twenty miles 
below Firebrace, holding his present run for Darlot, and Steiglitz 
first took up the beautiful country at Lake Hindmarsh, which is 
now divided between the Belchers and Atkinsons, &c. 

The northern part of the Wimmera district, including the 
mallee runs, were not thought of till later. Grant, who took up 
the Mount Arapiles country, was the first who found out their 
value in 1844, and disposed of his interest in the present Mount 
Elgin station to Major Firebrace. The Murray, Avoca, Avon, 
and Richardson runs were all of later discovery. 

In 1845 I exchanged the Englefield run for one near Mount 
Rouse, to which we gave the name of " The Green Hills." The 
country about me had been all along settled, excepting a small 

180 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

patch to the south-west of me, into which a Mr. Gibb managed 
to squeeze himself. But the days of the early settlement of the 
colony may be said to have been over before this period. 

Wimmera, loth September 1853. 


This country, lying to the north of the Upper Goulburn River 
district, and extending to the head of the Broken River, was first 
occupied in September 1839, by Messrs. Watson and Hunter, 
who, in February 1840, formed their head station upon the 
DeviPs River, at a place called by the natives " Wappang." The 
original discoverers of this country were Mr. John Hunter, of the 
above firm, and Mr. Campbell, of Otter, who entered it from the 
Big Hill, near which, at the head of the Seven Creeks (Teniple- 
ton's station), Mr. Hunter had a station called " Balowra." They 
could see from the top of the Big Hill range the open country of 
Mount Battery, backed by Mount Buller and the line of Australian 

They eventually found the Devil's River, so called from 
hearing a black's " corrobboree " upon its banks the night that 
they first camped upon it, but their first station was at Mount 
Battery. The whole of the country occupied now by Messrs, 
Goodman, and Locke, and Malcolm, and the head station at 
" Wappang," which is now in the occupation of a working over- 
seer named John Bon, who landed from an emigrant ship in 1841 
without a rap, were comprised within Messrs. Watson and Hunter's 
original station, besides their cattle station on the Broken River, 
which extended to and took in Mr. Moore's present station of 
" Barjang/' afterwards the Arundells' homestead. 

In 1841 I had a license for a small station upon the south 
side of the Devil's River, below Mr. Waugh's station (the 
author of " Three Years' Experience in Australia," a pamphlet 
which gulled half England and Scotland in 1839 and 1840) 
called Mimamiluke, but I gave it up, in the month of November 
of that year, to Mr. Alick Hunter, who afterwards sold it to a 
Mr. Serjeantson. 

Letters from Victorian Piotieers. 181 

My first visit to this country was in January 1840, when the 
whole of this country was in Messrs. Watson and Hunter's 

Wimraera, 12th August 1853. 


This station was formed by me and Mr. James Riley in No- 
vember 1841, as a heifer-station. There was at the time no 
settler higher up the Glenelg, and we laid claim to the country 
which now is divided between Mr. Lewis (late Cadden), Stirling 
And Fairbairn formerly Mather (a carpenter from Melbourne, 
who was killed in 1843 by a falling tree), and Mackintosh. 
It had been previously temporarily occupied by a Mr. Norton, 
but the blacks had killed so many of his sheep, he was glad to 
desert it. 

In 1842 I gave up my claim to " Englefield," and it was occu- 
pied by Dr. Barker, who sold it back to me for 50 towards the 
end of that year. In 1843 Mr. Cadden came with sheep, andMr. 
Commissioner Fyans allowed him to take a large portion of my 
country from me, which I disputed till 1844, when we settled the 
affair amicably. In the same year I allowed Messrs. Affleck, who 
had been old servants of Messrs. Watson and Hunter's, to occupy 
the lower part of Mather's Creek, and in 1846 they tried to claim 
my whole run, but eventually sold the run I had lent them to 
Messrs. Stirling and Fairbairn for 50, having first tried to do me 
all the injury they could. 

The natives were very troublesome till 1844. My cattle were 
frequently found with spears in them, and once the blacks were 
chased by my stock-keeper when they were hunting the cattle 
through a swamp. I never, however, heard of any collision with 
the natives on that station. 

In February 1846 I exchanged this run with Mr. Robert 
Clerk, for one called The Green Hills, near Mount Rouse. It is 
now occupied by Mrs. Greene, of Woodlands. 


Wimmera, 12th August 1853. 

182 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


The original station of " Mumumberick," of which the Green 
Hills formed a part, was taken up in 1840 by Mr. Matthew Gibb, 
for Captain Swauston. It was afterwards, about 1843, sold to 
Mr. Robert Clerk, with whom I made an exchange for Engle- 
field, on the Glenelg River, in 1846. Mr. John Cox, who occu- 
pied Mount Rouse, and Mr. Henry Best, who occupied Burchett's 
run, and Messrs. Kemp, who occupied what was afterwards 
Cheyne's Station, on Muston's Creek, were the original neighbours 

to this run. 


Wimmera, 12th August 1853. 

No. 35. 

Middle of 1836. A. F. Mollison came to Port Phillip in a 
vessel from Hobart Town, to view the land, having gone from 
Sydney to Hobart Town, as there were no vessels sailing from 
Sydney to Port Phillip at that time. (Major Mitchell had not 
returned from his journey through Australia Felix at this time.) 

John Batman, McKillop, Fawkner, and others, had been settled 
at Port Phillip two or three months when A. F. Mollison 

Sheep (breeding ewes) were being brought over from Van 
Diemen's Land for the first settlers price 20s. 

Having seen the .country, he returned to Sydney, vid Van Die- 
men's Land, and started (April 1837) from a station on the Murrum- 
bidgee, which he had bought a year before, with 5,000 sheep 
(collected from various quarters, price 25s. to 31s. 6d.); 600 
cattle ; 20 horses. 

End of 1837. After a long and harassing journey, wintering 
at Bontherambo by the way, he reached Coliban, and formed that 

Ebden had reached Carlsruhe six weeks before with stock, 
and shortly afterwards Yaldwyn came down and took up (what 
is now W. H. F. Mitchell's) country. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 183 

I joined A. F. Mollison in 1838. We lived in reed mia-mias 
and tents comfortably enough for some time. The winters were 
much drier. The Colibau, now a formidable stream when flooded, 
was crossed on a plank during the first winters. 

1838. Pyalong was occupied as a cattle station. W. Hamil- 
ton, Mundy & Smy the, and F. A. Powlett followed in this quarter. 

1839-1840. The head of the Loddon present aboriginal 
station was first occupied by A. F. Mollison. The country 
north of this river had been frequently explored before, but was 
called the " barren plains," and supposed to be without water. 
Look at them now. 

1840. Lyou Campbell followed, and then L. Mackinnon and 

Early part of 1841. Parker occupied our station on Loddon 
as a reserve for the aborigines, and, settling there, attempted to 
carry out the Exeter Hall views for their civilization, with but 
slight success, as was to be expected. 

The aborigines in our neighbourhood (afterwards known as the 
"Jim Crow" tribe) were from the first peaceable. They were a 
small insignificant tribe, frequently spoiled and oppressed by the 
more numerous and warlike tribes from the G-oulburu, Murray 
River, and westwar.d, who used to carry off their women, &c. 

There is a tradition of one, if not two, bloody encounters be- 
tween parties of these last tribes and Hutton's men. Hutton was 
then the furthest out to the north-west, and it is pretty well 
known that several white men, getting lost in the bush, were cut 
off by the natives, as they were never heard of afterwards. At 
any rate the shepherds felt, or pretended so much alarm, that, at 
the request of the settlers about and beyond Mount Alexander, a 
small party of the 28th Regiment was stationed on the Campaspe 
during 1838 and 1839, to protect both whites and blacks. The 
squatters, or rather their men, should be in fairness freed from 
the imputation cast upon them by the Protectors and Missionaries 
of corrupting the native women. From the first I know that the 
use of the women was offered by themselves and their husbands 
indifferently for a very trifling gratuity. 

It was always believed that they were cannibals that is, that 
now and then, under particular circumstances, they ate portions 

181: Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

of the human body, rather as a rite, perhaps, than to make a 

There are traditions of portions of the body, usually hands or 
fingers, being observed in the lubras' bags, but of doubtful 
authenticity, I think. 

Certainly, in conversation, they admitted the fact ; but this does 
not prove it, because we know that they Avill at any time admit or 
say anything which they think will please their interlocutor 
witness the bunyip and (Mr. Powlett's ?) great serpent of the in- 
terior, both of which have been accurately described in fifty 
different shapes ; also the volcanic eruptions of Jim Crow, &c., 
&c.; in short, if leading questions are put to them, as is usually 
done by enthusiastic inquirers, who are following up their own 
ideas, they (the natives) may, as I think, be made to say or 
to describe any thing. 

1839. Sheep were in this and the following year taken hence 
to Adelaide considerable numbers by sea. Price paid here in 
1839 by McFarlane and others for the purpose of sending to 
Adelaide, 27s. 6d. for breeding ewes. Wheat sold at the Colibau 
at 20s. the bushel. 

January, 1840. The first shipment of cattle hence to New 
Zealand by Welsh and others. Cows, 10 ; steers, 12. 

1841. The first mill for grinding corn by water-power was 
erected at the Coliban about this time. 

1842. Fat wethers this year from 8s. to 12s. 

1842-45. In these years there was a great depression of the 
pastoral and agricultural interests. Yet the colony continued to 
advance slowly in point of comfort and property, although there 
was but little money. Many squatters, who in their earlier 
operations had become indebted to the merchants, were obliged to 
surrender their stations, and were left penniless. The new men 
who bought at this time have become rich, escaping the privations 
and anxieties of the first pioneers, their predecessors. They have 
been floated on to wealth by the tide of general prosperity, but of 
the older settlers who held on, many pressed down by the un- 
favorable terms on which assistance was granted to them, have 
only recently, after a struggle of years, found themselves freed 
from their difficulties. 

Letters from \Victorian Pioneers. 185 

Now, in the pride of wealth consequent on the wonderful gold 
discoveries, the early squatters, their sufferings, and their services 
to the colony, are alike forgotten, and men seem to regard them, as 
the new heir regards the furniture and portraits of the distant 
relative to whom he has succeeded, as something to be at once 
quietly consigned to the lumber-room or the auction marts. 

1845-53. From this period there are printed records of the pro- 
gress of the colony and its general statistics, which it will be at 
once more easy and more satisfactory to consult, than someAvhat 
loose memoranda. 

Pyalong, 22nd August 1853. 

ISTo. 36. 1 

Nettialcc Station, Avoca. 

I went with sheep to the River Avoca in February 1842, and 
occupied the country immediately north of Button, Simson, 
and Darlot, who arrived very early from New South Wales with 
sheep and cattle. There was no settler on the Avoca before 
me. Mr. Alex. Irvine had an out-station hut on it. He was 
formerly in partnership with Dr. Imlay of Twofold Bay. Mr. 
Lynott, a cattle holder, who purchased from Dr. Imlay, was 
my near neighbour. Mr. Hodgkinson was in the vicinity 
before me. A. McCallum was at Mount Greenock. The 
only settlers on the Loddon were Mollison, Mackinnon, and 
Dutton all from New South Wales. A few days after me> 
Mr. Colin Mackinnon, occupied the "Mountain Creek," be- 
tween the Pyrenees range and my station. In 1844, Mr. Ellis 
(from Ireland) occupied a station with sheep purchased from me 
30 miles down the Avoca. There was then a general rush made 
to the plains lying to the north, which up to that time had been 

1 This memorandum is not signed, but is endorsed in Mr. La Trobe's handwriting, 
" Leslie Foster." ED. 

186 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

quite devoid of water. Mr. Allan Cameron (Scotch), Captain 
Harrison, Horsfall (English), Stewart (Scotch), Cay and Kaye, 
Foley & Cameron, Coutts, Rutherford, Donald and Hamilton, A. 
Thomson, and several others, all took up runs together. On the 
Loddon, Catto, Brain and Williams, Thorpe, and Bear all English 
took up stations ; while a large tract was taken on the Lower 
Loddon and Murray by Curlewis and Campbell from Sydney. 
Subsequently McCallum, Campbell, and Rowan, all Scotch, 
occupied Mount Hope and the banks of the Murray. 

The aborigines were reported to be very fierce and intract- 
able when I first occupied, but I never had any trouble with 
them. They never were much use, and seemed to me to im- 
prove very little, while by degrees they diminished in number. 
There was never any outrage of any moment committed by either 
the settlers or them in my time, but previous to that several had 
been killed on both sides. The country was quite wild when I 
first saw it. A herd of wild cattle, escaped from Dr. Imlay's 
herd, were running wild for years, and some horses, apparently 
lost by a surveying party. The soil on my run and to the 
northward is generally very poor, very flat, a very retentive clay 
lying for the most part on a bed of quartz pebbles. Gold has been 
found on the Ayoca, and there are several hills of most metalli- 
ferous appearance. 

No. 37. 

C IR Tarrawingee, 30th August 1853. 

In reply to the letter dated 29th July, which I have had the 
honour to receive from Your Excellency, I beg to state that I 
arrived at the Ovens in March 1838, on the evening of the day 
on which Mr. Faithfull's party were attacked by the blacks at 
Broken River. There were two temporary encampments previous 
to my arrival, viz., Mr. W. Bowman's and Col. White's. In a few 
days Mr. G. Faithfull selected the lands he now holds Oxley 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 187 

Plains and I occupied the lands immediately opposite Myrrhee, 
now the station of J. W. Chisholm. A panic seized the servants 
and they deserted their employers. Bowman, Faithfull, and White, 
abandoned their cattle on the runs, and I was left alone with three 
assigned servants, my freemen having absconded. In a few days 
these assigned men told me that they would stay no longer, but 
offered to assist me back to the settled districts with the stock. 
I was thus compelled to leave the Ovens. I took my stock back 
to the Hume River (Nurengong). On my return to the Ovens 
in about six months' time, I found that Chisholm had -taken 
possession of Myrrhee, and I settled at Warrouley, which I still 
hold. Faithfull had returned to Oxley Plains. Bowman was 
here (Tarrawingee), and Docker at Bontherambo. Soon after, 
Reid occupied Carrajarmongei, and in a year or two the stations in 
this district were occupied pretty much as they are at present. 

I may mention as a specimen of the fatigue undergone by the 
earlier squatters, that for six days and nights before I left the 
Ovens I never lay down, being engaged all day in herding the 
cattle, and all night in walking round them. I was alone one of 
the men being similarly employed with my sheep, and the other 
two in removing and guarding the stores. As soon as the necessity 
for exertion ceased, I was seized with cedematous swelling of the 
legs and eyelids. I could neither see nor walk, and was carried 
back to the Hume on a dray. There was at that time no station 
occupied between Barnawartha, on the Hume (now G. H. Bar- 
bers), and Sugarloaf Creek (W. Hamilton's). The blacks were not 
numerous, but very hostile. They murdered a number of white 
men and destroyed a great many cattle and horses. In May 1840, 
21 of them, all armed with guns, besides their native weapons, 
attacked my station in my absence. They murdered one of my 
servants and burned my huts and stores, and all my wheat. Tea 
was worth at that time in Melbourne 20 per chest, and flour 100 
per ton. Four horses, each worth 100, were killed, and only 
seven head of cattle, out of nearly 3,000, were left alive on the run. 
One hundred and eighty head exclusive of those found dead were 
totally lost. The rest were recovered, at such an expenditure of 
money and of personal energy, as have left me an invalid for life, 
and to this day comparatively a poor man. 

188 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

My demand for compensation was treated with contempt by 
the Governor of New South Wales ; he said I had voluntarily 
placed myself beyond the boundaries of police, and must take the 
consequences, although I was then paying an assessment upon 
stock for the very purpose of securing police protection beyond 
the boundaries. Three special commissioners were sent one after 
another to examine into the matter, Major Lettsom, of the 80th 
Regiment, Mr. Bingham, Commissioner of Crown Lands for the 
district, and Chief Protector Robinson. The whole drift of their 
inquiries seemed to me to be an attempt to prove that the cause of 
.the attack upon my station by the blacks was an improper treat- 
ment of the native women by my servants. This was shown to be 
totally without foundation, for the natives had no women with 
them, and it was their first visit to the station. It was also their last. 
I followed them for eighteen months, and apprehended seventeen 
of them, and, though they were discharged from Melbourne gaol 
almost as soon as they entered it, yet their capture had such a 
good effect that their depredations have since been confined to a 
few cattle for food. There have been none of their former whole- 
sale slaughterings, and no murders of white men since then. 
These, Sir, are the salient points of my experience as a squatter. 
I have lost my capital. I have lost my health. I have lost fifteen 
years of the best period of my life. I have undergone many 
hardships, exposed myself to many dangers, and am now a poorer 
man than I was when I became a squatter. There is an apparent 
egotism in this letter, which would be offensive without the com- 
ment, that, from the tenor of Your Excellency's circular, I concluded 
that short narratives of individual experience, and not general 
disquisitions, were what Your Excellency required. 
I have the honour to be, Sir, 
Your Excellency's most obedient servant, 


His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq., 

Lieutenant-Governor of the Colonv of Victoria. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 1&9 

No. 38. 

Longerenong, Wimmera, 16th November 1853. 

I have the honour to forward to Your Excellency the enclosed 
information, and trust that, although late, it may still be of some 

Wishing Your Excellency a pleasant and agreeable voyage, 
I have the honour to be, 

Your most obedient servant, 

His Excellency Charles Joseph La Trobe, Esq., &c., &c., &c. 


1843. In July of this year Mr. Darlot occupied his present 
station with about 300 head of cattle. 

In November my partner, Mr. McPherson, started to look for 
new runs, and followed the course of the Wimmera from Mrs. 
Greene's present home-station, at that time an out-station of Mr. 
John Allan's. The Wimmera was at that period unoccupied from 
Allan's out-station to Mr. Darlot's. 

1844. In February we started our sheep from a station on the 
Moorabool, 20 miles from Geelong, and occupied our present 
homestead on the Wimmera about the end of the same month. 
At that date, with the exception of Mr. Darlot's 300 cattle eight 
miles lower down the river, there was no stock north of Cameron's 
heifer station (Navarre) or west of the Avoca to the Glenelg, 
that I was aware of. About this time Mr. Hamilton, manager for 
B. Boyd, Esq., occupied the eastern branch of the Wimmera for 
ten miles above and below where the township of Glenorchy is 
DOW fixed. 

Mr. Mills, manager for Messrs. Brodie and Cruikshank, 
passed our station about the 20th March with 3,000 sheep, and 

190 Letters from Victorian Pioneers, 

occupied the station now held by Mr. Splatt (Wouwondah) a few 
days afterwards. This was the second flock of sheep that passed 
into the country beyond Ledcourt ours being the first. 

We saw no natives till we were on the station two months. 
Afterwards they came in very quickly till they numbered about 
100 men, women, and children. At this time they were in tlie 
habit of stealing a sheep occasionally at night. 

In September, about 40 natives attacked one of our shepherds, 
threw several spears at him, and took his flock from him within a 
mile of the homestead. The overseer mustered the men, and the 
sheep were regained within an hour. During the winter the natives 
were very troublesome. 

Mr. W. J. T. Clarke, at the Pyrenees, lost 1,000 sheep ; he had 
a shepherd badly speared. After this Captain Dana and the native 
police arrived at the Pyrenees, followed the natives, and overtook 
them near Ayrey and Nicholas present homestead at that time 
unoccupied country. 

At Boyd's station (Ledcourt) the natives stole during the 
winter about 800 sheep. The station was constantly annoyed by 
their stealing sheep, which they generally drove towards the 
Richardson, and occasionally behind Mount Zero. 

Messrs. Brodie and Cruikshank had 200 sheep stolen. Messrs. 
Darlot, Ellerman, Mills, and McPherson tracked them for two 
days, and found them near Mr. Baillie's present station (Polkemet) 
in a gum scrub. They had killed ten, and carried the carcases 
away, breaking the legs of those left behind alive. This was their 
usual plan to prevent the sheep straying, and at the same time 
annoy the settlers. Brodie and Cruikshank's loss that winter was 
in all about 900 sheep. 

In November of this year Messrs. Creswick occupied the Avon 
Station. During December Messrs. Wilson occupied a station on 
the Richardson, near Rutherford's present station, but afterwards 
(in December) moved down the Wimmera, east of Mount Arapiles, 
where Mr. Firebrace's station now is. 

1845. During January Major Firebrace brought up 6,000 
sheep, and claimed the run occupied by Messrs. Wilson, and 
having no license, Messrs. Wilson were compelled to move lower 
down the river, where Mr. Baillie now is, but left during the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 191 

winter, being afraid of the natives, and sat down where their pre- 
sent station is three miles below Horsham with 2,000 sheep. 

Messrs. Baillie and Hamilton claimed the portion of this run 
adjoining Ledcourt, in February, but were removed by the Crown 
Lands Commissioner. About 10th February they occupied the 
ground vacated by Messrs. Wilson, below Major Firebrace's, with 
3,000 sheep. About the end of February Rutherford and Robinson 
took possession of the run (on the Richardson) now in occupation 
of Messrs. Rutherford, Dennis, and Ayrey & Nichol, with 3,000 

About 10th March Joseph Thier occupied the run on the Avon, 
now Love's. 

About this time we occupied the lakes north of Mount Zero 
and the Yarriambiack Creek, for twelve miles. Messrs. Wilson 
immediately afterwards built two stations lower down the same 
creek Kewell and Muckbilly. 

About the 20th March Messrs. Donald and Macredie came to 
Longerenong looking for runs. On questioning the natives, we 
found there was good water to the north-east, a day's journey 
distant. Two days afterwards my late partner, Mr. McPherson, 
started with them, taking a native as a guide, and the same evening 
struck the Avon below the station of Horsfall, who had been 
there about a week previous. Next day they followed the Avon 
to Banyeyong the water ihey started for. Mr. J. Donald 
immediately left for Melbourne to get a license and bring up 

Mr. W. Patterson occupied his station on the Wimmera in April 
with 3,000 sheep. 

Mr. Geo. Urquhart occupied Maryvale in July with 4,000 
sheep ; Mr. Glendinning the Salt Lakes in October and November 
with 2,000 sheep. In November Messrs. Scott occupied their run 
on the Yarriambiack Creek. 

In April of this year Mr. Robinson, the Protector of Aborigines, 
first visited the Wimmera, and penetrated as far as Lake Hind- 
marsh. Mr. H. Darlot and other settlers accompanied him ; they 
saw very few of the natives. 

The losses of the settlers in sheep by the natives were again 
considerable this winter. Messrs. Baillie and Hamilton suffered 

192 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

most severely. In all, they lost 1,000 sheep, besides lambs, and 
were continually harassed, being near the scrub, where the natives 
Lad plenty of cover. Major Firebrace and Mr. Patterson also lost 
several hundred sheep. The old system of breaking the legs was 
still carried on. 

The stations higher up the river escaped this year. The 
country on the Richardson and Avon being settled, the blacks had 
no place to take the sheep to. On the Glenelg, also, the settlers 
were comparatively unmolested, as the Wimmera and the country 
about Mount Arapiles was a great resort of the natives with stolen 

In August Mr. Horsfall, on the Avon, had a hut-keeper mur- 
dered by the natives, with a spade that was in his hut. The 
murderers were never taken. 

After the first year's occupation, the demeanour of the natives 
was generally friendly to the settlers. On many of the stations 
their services were of great value in looking for strayed horses, and 
especially sheep. Several of them have shepherded for eight and 
ten months at a time, and were the best shepherds in the district. 
Not being afraid of losing their flock, they allowed them to spread 
over a large tract of country. They were also useful in pointing 
out the permanent water-holes. 

1846. This year, in January, Mr. Steiglitz occupied the country 
around Lake Hindraarsh with sheep ; Messrs. Shaw and Ellerman 
the Antwerp Station in February. 

This year Mr. McGuinness occupied the lake that the Yarriam- 
biack flows into. 

In May of this year Captain Fyans, Commissioner of Crown 
Lands, first visited this part of the district, and we occupied 
Munarp towards Banyeyong. In June Dr. Thomson brought 
sheep up, and laid claim to 150,000 acres, a great extent of which 
had been already occupied by others. 

I believe that Your Excellency is aware that the country in the 
Wimmera district, at least this part of it, was, when occupied, 
poor and thinly grassed. Since it has been stocked with sheep, 
the grass has improved so much that I am sure it will now fatten 
more than double the number it could have done at first. 


Letters from Victorian Pioneers, 193 

No. 39. 
No. 98/44. 

Commissioner of Crown Lands Office, Gippsland, 
g m Alberton, 15th July 1844. 

Reverting to Your Honour's instructions, No. 43/1 354, of Septem- 
ber 18th 1843, and to my reply thereto, No. ll/44,of 22nd January, 
reporting the state of this district on my arrival, I have the honour 
to state that, as at that time my residence in Gippsland had been 
limited to eight or ten days, and consequently my opportunities of 
obtaining correct information relative to the district few, I con- 
sider it my duty, now that I have been resident here six months, 
collected some information, and gained a little knowledge of the 
country, to follow up that report by a second, in which I shall 
endeavour to convey to Your Honour an account of the state of 
the district up to the 30th June last, a description of the country, 
rivers, and lakes, and such other information as may appear 
essential to a knowledge of this part of the colony. 


The district of Gippsland, by His Excellency's proclamation 
published in the Government Gazette, is bounded " on the south 
and east by the sea ; on the north by a line running in a westerly 
direction from Cape Howe to the source of the nearest tributary 
of the Murray River and the Australian Alps ; again on the west 
by the Alps, and a line south to Anderson's Inlet" being about 
250 miles in length, and 56 miles average breadth, and containing, 
consequently, about 14,000 square miles, of which the ranges 
comprise perhaps about 10,000 miles ; forest, scrub, and generally 
unavailable land, 3,000 square miles ; and the good available 
land, 1,000 square miles. 


High, broken country extends from the Dividing Range or 
watershed towards the sea-coast, about 40 miles, a great part of 
which is covered with snow from June to October, and as the 
average distance from the main range to the sea-coast is not above 

194 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

70 miles, the low and occupied country does not extend much 
above 30 miles from the coast. 

With the exception of three or four, the settlers are confined 
within a belt of this width, 89 miles in length, extending from 
Port Albert to the River Thomson or Tambo. 

To the eastward of the Thomson for some little distance, the 
country is so precipitous and broken that there has hitherto been 
no communication between this part of the district and the Snowy 
River (which is said to be distant 20 or 30 miles from the 
Thomson) but by way of Omeo. I believe an attempt was made 
by a party upwards of a year ago to reach Maneroo in a north- 
easterly direction from Bruthen, but failed in consequence of their 
horses being too jaded to proceed. The distance to be saved by 
this route to Maneroo, were it found practicable, would be nearly 
100 miles ; and the high ranges about Omeo would be thus 


The rivers that water the before-mentioned belt of occupied 
country are seven in number, namely, the La Trobe, Maconochie, 
Barney, Dunlop,Macarthur, Riley or Nicholson, and Thomson, or 
Tambo of the Omeo natives. 

The Perry, described by Count Strzelecki, between the Dunlop 
and Macarthur, cannot be classed with these, it being merely a 
small chain of ponds. 

There are, besides these rivers, several minor streams falling 
into the sea, between Corner Inlet and the La Trobe. 


The Albert and Tarra rivulets rise in a small range 17 or 18 
miles from Port Albert, and empty themselves into that port. 

Bruthen Creek, Merriman's Creek, and two others, rising in 
the same range, fall into the sea north-north-east of the Port. 

The River La Trobe, which is the westernmost and largest 
river in Gippsland, derives its waters by various tributaries from 
the Dividing Range, opposite the sources of the Goulburn. 

The chief source is perhaps in latitude 37 40' south and 
longitude 146 east, from which to its junction with Lake 
Wellington, in latitude 38 8' and longitude 147 22' nearly, is 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 195 

about 100 miles. The course for the last 70 miles is due east, 
the lower part, for 42 miles, being occupied by settlers. 

For the respective positions of the stations, &c., I beg to refer 
Your Honour to the accompanying map. 1 


The next river to the La Trobe is the Maconochie. It 
appears to rise near the base of the hilly country, in latitude 38 
and longitude 146 45', and, following an east-south-east direction 
for 19 miles, joins the Barney. 

Although running throughout the year, it is a small river, 
sometimes admitting a person to cross almost without wetting his 
feet. This river is also occupied, with the exception of a few 
miles of indifferent country near its source. 

The Barney, I have every reason to believe, rises about 30 miles 
south-west of Mount Buller, and, after flowing south-south-east for 
about 45 miles, enters the low country. Its course is then east 
for seven miles, and south-east and by south for sixteen miles, 
when, after receiving the waters of the Maconochie, it flows into 
the La Trobe at the distance of ten miles from Lake Wellington. 

Near the head of this river, between the Dividing Range and 
the Gippsland Range, a large extent of fine, open, and well- 
watered country is said to exist, having been discovered by an 
exploring party from the Devil's River two or three years ago. Its 
existence has been corroborated by some natives from the Doro 
country, and its supposed position was known to several settlers 
in Gippsland, yet no attempt has hitherto been made by any 
party in the district to reach it, although an extensive valley 
called G-lenmaggie, stretching in that direction, seems to invite 
the attempt. 

A stockman, named Andrew Ewing, in the employment of 
Messrs. Watson and Hunter, of Devil's River, informed me 
he had seen it, and even applied for a license, so far back as 
November last, to occupy a station there. Not having heard of 
his arrival, I may presume he has not succeeded in finding a road 
over the ranges practicable for sheep. 

1 This map is not included in Mr. La Trobe's gift to the Trustees of the Public 
Library. ED. 

O Z 

196 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


The next river in succession, the Dunlop (the Avon of Mr, 
Macalister), apparently taking its rise near Mount Gisborne or 
Wellington, and running in a south-south-east direction for tAventy 
miles, through a broken and scrubby country, is met at the head 
of the low country by a minor branch from the westward, passing 
under a moderately elevated hill called Ben Cruachan. 

At the distance of twenty miles south-east from the junction, 
the Dunlop falls into Lake Wellington, and is navigable for eight 
miles from its mouth for vessels of considerable burthen, the depth 
being 4^ fathoms, and width varying from 100 to 200 yards. It 
is deep close to its margin. 


The country between this river and the Barney, from the foot 
of the ranges to Lake Wellington, containing 160 square miles, 
may be truly called the heart of Gippsland. It consists of fine, 
open plains and forest land, and, from its superior herbage, is, I am 
of opinion, capable of depasturing 50,000 sheep, or at the rate of 
two acres to each sheep. 

A part of this country is in the occupation of the discoverer of 
Gippsland, Mr. Macalister, whom, I am informed, at the enormous 
expense of between 2,000 and 3,000, opened a road over the 
ranges to this beautiful district through the Omeo country, prior 
to Count Strzelecki's journey. 


The Macarthur, next in size to the La Trobe, apparently 
comes from the Snowy Mountains, and a minor branch of it from 
the Gippsland Range, near Mount Valentia. 

The country, as far as is known of it, through which it flows, 
is broken and scrubby to within twenty-three miles of Lake King, 
which lake receives its waters. The land on either side of the 
lower part of the Macarthur is occupied. 


The Riley, or Nicholson, a small stream, occasionally dry in 
places, rising in a minor range, waters an unavailable scrubby 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers, 197 

country. It falls into Lake King, about a mile to the northward 
of the mouth of the Macarthur. 


The Thomson, or Tambo, rises about ten or twelve miles to 
the eastward of Omeo. It flows into Lake King five miles east of 
the Riley, after a southerly course of sixty miles. 

The country between the Thomson and the Snowy River, a 
distance of about thirty miles, is unexplored, but a river of some 
magnitude is said to flow through it. 


The eastern portion of the district I have not yet visited, nor 
will a visit to it be practicable until the spring, owing to the 
ranges being covered with snow. A description of that part of the 
country will therefore form the subject of a future communication 
to Your Honour. 


The whole of the drainage of the ranges and country above 
described, forms an extensive chain of lakes, forty-nine miles in 
length, running near to and parallel with the sea-coast. 

The first or westernmost of these, called Lake Wellington by 
the discoverer, Mr. McMillan, receives the waters of the La Trobe, 
Maconochie, Barney, and Dunlop, and is fresh throughout the 

It is in length twelve miles; in width from six to eight and a 
half; and in depth, varying from one to three fathoms. The 
country between it and the sea has not been explored. That to 
the westward and northward is generally good, and all that is 
available occupied. 


The outlet of this lake is through a narrow channel six miles 
long, and from one hundred to two hundred yards wide, and four 
or five fathoms deep, called McLennan's Straits (so named 
after one of the party who first explored it in a boat), into Lake 

198 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


Lake Victoria also owes its name to the discoverer, Mr. 
McMillan. It is in length thirty-two miles, and in breadth 
averaging only about one mile and a half, and is generally between 
four and five fathoms deep. The outlet to the sea, at its eastern 
extremity, is too narrow and shoaly to be rendered available except 
for small boats. 


Lake King, of Count Strzelecki, is the northern portion of 
Lake Victoria, eleven miles long and seven broad, having an 
average depth of about four fathoms ; it receives the waters of 
the Macarthur, Riley, and Thomson, the former of which carries 
four and a half fathoms water for upwards of ten miles, although 
it is only one fathom deep at the entrance. 


Communicating with Lake Victoria by means of a very shallow 
channel, between that lake and the sea-coast, is another lake of 
some extent, called Lake Reeve, after the discoverer, John Reeve, 
J.P., proprietor of a special survey at Port Albert. While 
exploring the lakes a short time since, with a view to discover if 
any outlet from the lakes to the sea existed that could be rendered 
available for shipping, I made an ineffectual attempt to get a 
boat into Lake Reeve, an outlet to the sea about a mile wide 
having been seen by Mr. Reeve from a. hill between the two 

From a view I also obtained of that lake from a different hill, 
I am of opinion that, should there be an outlet to the sea, it is too 
shallow to admit of its being used as a harbour. 

If, therefore, this prove the case, Alberton and the special 
surveys, although badly situated with reference to the heart of 
Gippsland, must continue to command the country. 



From the salubrity of the climate, the absence of hot winds 
and summer frosts, the copious supply of summer rains, the 
fertility of the soil, notwithstanding that the lakes should not be 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 199 

available for external navigation, Gippsland will no doubt at 
some future period become the granary of New South Wales, and 
form a valuable portion of the colony. 

The number of stations in the district on the 30th June was 
40, and of people employed on them 327, of whom 227 were free 
males; 51, free females ; 47, male prisoners of the Crown ; and 
2, female prisoners. 

The stock depasturing on Crown lands was 410 horses, 20,157 
cattle, and 62,455 sheep, besides a few hundred head of cattle, 
and some horses belonging to persons whom I have deemed it 
necessary to defer recommending for licenses until I shall have 
received testimonials of their characters from the Commissioner 
of the district they left prior to coming here. 



Besides the number of persons given above, there are 120 
living on purchased land, viz.: At Victoria (Mr. Orr's special 
survey), 17 males, 6 females, and 13 children; on Major David- 
son's survey (shipping place), 18 males, 7 females, and 3 children ; 
at Tarraville (Mr. Reeve's special survey), 29 males, 14 females, 
and 13 children. 


Albefton is now quite deserted in consequence of Messrs. 
Turnbull and Orr having moved their stores and counting-house 
to the Shipping Point, where most of the mercantile business of 
the district is carried on. 

Those persons given in my last half-year's return, then residing 
at Alberton, most of whom were bad characters, have either left 
the district, or have sought refuge on the special surveys. The 
runaway convicts and other bad characters with which this district 
was infested a few months ago, have, I believe, been nearly all 
driven out of the district by the system of surveillance pursued 
by the border police, acting under my instructions. (The 
system will be explained on reference to the annexed copy of a 
letter 1 addressed by me to the respective settlers.) 

1 This letter is not included in the La Trobe MS. ED. 

200 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


I regret, however, to observe that the depredations of the 
aborigines continue, and that the small police force at my disposal 
is inadequate to put a stop to them. 

The most effectual method that suggests itself to me to check 
these attacks, is by establishing two police stations in different 
parts of the occupied country, each consisting of five troopers of 
the border police, and two of the native police attached as 

One of these stations I should propose fixing in the midst of 
the settlers, on the La Trobe or Maconochie, under the orders of 
the sergeant of the border police ; the other, at the present head- 
quarters, on the Macarthur, near which the natives have been 
very troublesome, killing 90 head of cattle belonging to Mr. 
Sparks, at various times, and many belonging to Mr. Jones. In 
this quarter Mr. Thorn has also been a sufferer by their repeated 

The aborigines of Grippsland are supposed to exceed in 
number those of any other known part of the colony of equal extent ; 
and this supposition is favoured by the circumstance of their 
isolated position being such as, in a great measure, to prevent 
their being destroyed by wars made upon them by other tribes, as 
well as of their having had no intercourse with Europeans. 

Those inhabiting the country about the lakes, judging from 
the numerous fires, and the different large parties of them I saw 
while on the lakes, cannot be less than a thousand. 


To turn, however, from the loss sustained by the settlers by 
the depredations of the aborigines, it is gratifying to remark the 
comparatively remunerating prices obtained by the stock-holders 
for their stock in the Van Diemen's Land market, for which 
market Alberton is so conveniently situated. 

The subjoined returns, kindly furnished me by Mr. Turnbull 
and the Collector of Customs at Port Albert, show a monthly 
average of eight vessels for the last half-year, employed chiefly 
in this trade ; and an increase of shipping over that of the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


half-year ending December 1843, reported in my former com- 
munication to Your Honour, of 1,172 tons. 


It also shows the value of exports to have been 8,238 8s. 
for the half-year, while that of the imports furnished by Mr. Moore 
of the Customs was, for the last four months only, 2,037 15s. 4d., 
being at the rate annually of 16,476 16s. exports, and 6,113 6s. 
imports, the exports exceeding the imports by 10,363 10s., or 
nearly as 2$ to 1. 


The revenue collected by Mr. Moore for the last four months 
was 157 Os. lid., or at the rate of 471 2s. 9d. per annum, but 
from the recent addition to the district of several settlers with 
stock, and from the circumstance of the sly -grog sellers having 
been driven from their unlawful occupation, and succeeded by two 
licensed publicans, added to the permission recently promulgated 
by the Governor to the merchants of Alberton, for the sale of 
wine and beer in quantities not less than two gallons, it may be 
fairly presumed that the revenue for the ensuing year will exceed 
that sum. 

Particulars of Port Albert shipping from the 1 st of January 
to the 30th June 1844, inclusive, furnished by Messrs. Turnbull 
and Co., merchants : 













Exports. 886 cattle, at 80s. ... ... 3,544 

21 calves, at 20s. ... ... 21 

2, 137 sheep, at 4s. ... ... 427 8 

39 tons bark, at 30s. ... ... 58 10 

335 bales wool, weighing 83,750 

Ibs., at Is. per Ib. ... 4,18710 

Amount of tonnage from 1st July to 31st 

December 1843 ... ... ... 3,339 

1st January to 30th June 1844 ... ... 4,511 




Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Statement of the value of all articles imported and ex- 
ported from 6th March to 5th April 1844, with the amount 
of duty and other revenue collected during that period, fur- 
nished by Mr. Moore : 

Amount of Revenue Collected. 




s. d. 

s. d. 





224 10 

1,055 10 




Statement of the value of all articles, imports and exports, 
during the quarter ending 5th July 1844 ; with the amount of 
duty and other revenue collected during that period, furnished by 
Mr. Moore : 






S. d. 

s. d. 

s. d. 

s. d. 

S. d. 

1,813 5 4 

4,070 10 6 

122 10 2 

34 10 9 

157 11 

Exports from 6th March to 5th April, furnished by Mr. 
Moore : 

Wool, 12,600 Ibs. 
Cattle, 93 head... 
Sheep, 85 head... 


... 630 

... 366 

42 10 


... 1,055 10 

Exports for quarter ending 5th July, furnished by Mr. 
Moore : 

Wool, 10,440 Ibs. 
Cattle, 6,540 head 
Sheep, 2,408 ... 



909 14 

162 16 6 


... 4,070 10 6 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 203"- 

Having now endeavoured to convey to Your Honour a succinct 
account of the district of Gippsland generally, as proposed at the 
commencement of this letter, I may now be permitted to make a 
few brief remarks on the state of that part of it more imme- 
diately connected with Port Albert. 


The Government township of Alberton, as before stated, is 
entirely abandoned, owing chiefly, perhaps, to its possessing no 
commercial advantages, being out of the line of road from the 
interior to the shipping point. 


The Victoria township, on Mr. Orr's special survey, cannot, 
for the same reason, be other than a small village. Major David- 
son's survey, containing, I believe, 180 acres, commands the 
anchorage; there are, however, only about 10 acres of scrub avail- 
able for any purpose whatever, the remainder being a saltwater 
swamp. Besides, the present few inhabitants have either to cart 
water a distance of five miles or to beg it from the ship-masters- 
Two wells have been sunk, but the water in both cases proved 
salt. A township evidently cannot be established at this point. 


On the contrary, the township of Tarraville (Mr. Reeve's 
survey) has the advantage of being so situated as to command the 
nearest line of road to the interior, and at the same time of being 
within a convenient distance (about 3^ miles) of the shipping 
point. It has also the advantage of water communication to the 
shipping, for vessels of small burthen, such as lighters. 


Under these circumstances I feel it my duty to recommend 
that that portion of land on the Tarra Creek to the southward 
of Mr. Reeve's survey be reserved until it shall be finally 
decided on what site the Government township would be most 
advantageously situated. 

A court-house and lock-up are about to be built at the expense- 
of the settlers, as soon as a convenient site can be ascertained and 
sanctioned by the Government. 

204 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

In informing Yonr Honour of these circumstances I cannot 
refrain from expressing my opinion that the erection of these 
buildings, and the appointing Alberton a place to hold petty ses- 
sions, will be attended with no advantage whatever, unless a 
constable and lock-up keeper be allowed. 

Hitherto the duty has been performed by the border police, 
but it is evident that the services of the few men of that corps 
attached to this district are equally required to protect the settlers 
against the incursions of the aborigines, and for other police pur- 
poses in the interior. 

In conclusion, I beg to express my expectation of being 
enabled to complete this report in the spring, when the disap- 
pearance of the snow from the ranges will admit of my visiting 
the eastern portion of the district. 

I have the honour to be, Sir, 

Your Honour's most obedient servant, 

Com. Crown Lands. 
His Honour C. J. La Trobe, Esq., Melbourne. 

No. 4,0. 

o Melbourne, August 19th 1853. 

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excel- 
lency's letter of the 29th July last, requesting information regarding 
the first occupation of the Campaspe and King Parrot creeks. 

My party was one of the numerous ones which drove sheep 
overland from the Sydney to the Port Phillip district in 1838. 
Unfortunately catarrh broke out in some of the flocks between the 
Murray and the Ovens, and, rapidly spreading to others, com- 
pelled the proprietors to seek for not only new runs but new 
districts, where no sheep were already depasturing. 

Mr. P. Snodgrass, Dr. Dickson, Farquhar McKenzie, and 
others followed up the Goulburn, and found suitable runs on that 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 205 

river and its tributaries. I crossed the Goulburn in June, follow- 
ing Sir Thomas Mitchell's line of road, till I reached the Cam- 
paspe Plains, subsequently occupied by Monro, and then known 
as Munro's Plains, where I kept the stock for upwards of a month, 
while I examined the surrounding country; and I then moved 
lower down the creek to the run, which I disposed of in 1840 to 
Messrs. Jennings and Playne, and which has now passed into the 
hands of J. H. Patterson. At that time there were no runs taken 
up to the north of Mitchell's line, excepting Mr. Bowman's, on the 
Coliban, at the foot of Mount Alexander, which shortly after came 
into the possession of Mr. Orr, who is, I believe, still the 

It will be in Your Excellency's recollection that 1838 was the 
year of the great drought, and it was only by having my marching 
establishment complete, and thus constantly shifting my ground, 
that I was enabled to keep the stock alive. When I came into 
that district in July the ground was exceedingly dry, the grass 
apparently dead (although after the first rain it grew again most 
luxuriantly), the water-holes very low, and for nine months there 
was not even a moderate shower to freshen the herbage. Conse- 
quently there was no attraction for settlers, and I had no neighbour, 
except those I have mentioned, during my stay there. I am 
informed that there are now between 200,000 and 300,000 sheep 
depasturing on the Lower Campaspe Plains, where, in 1838-39, 
there was not grass enough to feed half-a-dozen goats. 

I only knew of two tribes of natives in that part of the 
country one called the Goulburn blacks, who chiefly stopped on 
that river, but occasionally came as far as my station, a distance 
of about 55 miles, and were tolerably well behaved, only pilfering 
and sometimes frightening the shepherds; and the other tribe 
more particularly belonging to the Campaspe, who, from the first, 
appeared to have a dislike to the whites. I can hardly tell the 
numbers of these tribes, but think the Campaspe blacks might 
muster about 40 able-bodied men in all. They were rather fine 
men, but very mischievous, and did much damage, not only to 
myself, but to the settlers as far as Ebden's run, at Mount 
Macedon. No doubt, there was blame on both sides, and had the 
whites not been over-familiar with them, for the sole purpose of 

206 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

getting their women, many of the outrages then perpetrated might 
have been avoided. 

The greater part of these men suddenly disappeared, and I know 
it was, and perhaps is still thought that they were slaughtered by 
the whites, and especially by myself; but my belief is that they 
died from influenza, which was prevalent, in a very severe form, at 
that time, and, to my own knowledge, more than one died of it; 
and as Your Excellency is about to leave the colony, and I may 
not have another opportunity, it is a satisfaction to myself to 
solemnly assure you that I never shot or otherwise destroyed one 
of them. I never even fired at one, and only once, when some 
troopers came up to apprehend them for killing two of my shep- 
herds, am I aware of any being killed by the whites. My run on 
the King Parrot Creek was taken up by my overseer, and I never 
resided on the station. 

It was adjoining Farquhar McKenzie's, and indeed at one 
time was claimed by him. I can give Your Excellency no correct 
information of the first occupation of that part of the country. 
I have the honour to be, Sir, 

Your Excellency's obedient servant, 


His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq., &c.. 

No. 41. 
e Mount Aitken, 26th August 1853. 

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter 
of the 27th of July, asking information regarding the first settle- 
ment of Victoria. 

I beg leave to inform you that Mr. Batman, who arrived in 
May 1835, was the first person who visited Port Phillip from 
Van Diemen's Land. Messrs. Jackson, Evans, and myself, 
arrived in Hobson's Bay in September of the same year, for the 
purpose of exploring the country preparatory to bringing stock 
over from Van Diemen's Land. The country appeared to us so 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 207 

well adapted for grazing purposes, both as regarded pasturage and 
climate, that we lost no time in going back to Van Diemen's Land 
for our stock. In March 1836, I landed with my sheep, &c., at 
Arthur's Seat, owing to the ship getting aground in the Bay, and 
travelled with them to this place, called by His Excellency Sir 
Richard Bourke, Mount Aitken, where I have continued to reside 
ever since. Mr. Batman and Mr. Arthur brought sheep over from 
Van Diemen's Land about the end of 1835, or the beginning of 
1836. The above-mentioned gentlemen were the only parties who 
brought stock prior to my arrival. 

Various other parties arrived soon after me with stock, 
viz.: Messrs. Jackson, Evans, Brock, Brodie, Sams, Wedge, 
Franks, Malcolm, Smith, Sutherland, Whyte, Clarke, and Fawkner. 
The latter gentleman was the Cain, or the first tiller of the soil in 
this province. Unfortunately he made a poor selection opposite 
the present city of Melbourne, in the swamp, and consequently it 
turned out a failure. Owing to this circumstance the impression 
became general that, however well adapted the country was for the 
grazing of sheep and cattle, it was altogether unsuited for agri- 
cultural purposes. The consequence of this false impression was 
that the Van Diemen's Land farmers immediately raised the price 
of wheat to 1 per bushel, as they imagined this country would 
be entirely dependent upon them for supplies of breadstuff's. 

In June and July 1837, settlers from the Sydney side com- 
menced to arrive. Amongst the earliest were Messrs. Howey, 
Ebden, Mollison, Hamilton, Coghill, and Hepburn, a great number 
of others immediately following them. 

With reference to the natives: On landing at Arthur's Seat, 
they were most friendly, assisting me to land my sheep, &c. 
About 80 was the number I then saw, being the Western Port 
tribe, some of whom accompanied me in my journey round the 
Bay to Melbourne. 

The Mount Macedon tribe of natives came to my tent soon 
after my arrival at Mount Aitken. I did all in my power to 
conciliate them, by giving them rations of rice, sugar, flour, &c., 
while they remained about the place. 

The number of the tribe, as near as I could guess, was about 
100 men, women, and children. I consider that this tribe was 

208 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

more savage than the Western Port tribe, a neighbour of mine 
(Mr. Franks) and his servant being murdered while serving out 
food to them. Two of Mr. Gellibrand's men were killed soon 
after by the same tribe. I had great reason to be thankful that I 
succeeded in saving myself and shepherds from sharing a similar 

I have the honour to be, Sir, 

Your Excellency's most obedient servant, 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq., 

Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria, &c., &c. 

No. 4=2. 

SlE St. Kilda, September 15th 1853. 

In reply to your letter of the 29th July last, requesting infor- 
mation respecting the first occupation of the Goulburn River, and 
the general line of the Sydney road, or any other portion of the 
colony of which I am personally cognizant, I beg to state that I 
arrived in Port Phillip with stock from the Sydney district 
in May 1837, in company with Messrs. Hughes, Farquhar 
McKenzie, Murdock, and Colonel White. 

I took up a station on the Muddy Creek and Goulburn River. 
Mr. Hughes located himself on a creek known as Hughes's. Mr. 
McKenzie took up a station on the King Parrot Creek. Mr. 
Murdock occupied the country immediately below me on the 
Goulburn ; and Colonel White formed his station on the Sunday 
Creek. At that time the only person living on the river was Mr. 
John Clarke, who was resident at that part known as " the old 
crossing-place ;" he had arrived there in the previous February. 
There were no residents to the north of the Goulburn, with the 
exception of two houses of accommodation at the Murray and 
Ovens rivers. About two years subsequently Messrs. Colburn 
and Fletcher took possession of the country above me on the 
Goulburn, Acheron, and Rubicon rivers. Dr. Patrick first occu- 
pied the station now known as Cathkin, in the occupation of 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 209 

Mr. Maxwell, and Messrs. Watson and Hunter occupied the 
Devil's River. 

The first occupants of the Goulburn below Seymour were: 
Colonel Anderson, who took the country immediately adjoining ; 
Messrs. Mantons, who occupied both sides of the river, including 
almost the whole from thence to the Murray ; and Mr. Macgregor, 
who located himself near the junction of the Broken River and 
Seven Creeks with the G-oulbura ; Mr. Gideon Stewai't occupied 
the country on the Sunday Creek contiguous to that part now 
known as the township of Broadford ; Dr. Hamlyn, the land 
around Kilmore ; Mr. Archibald Thorn, Beveridge's Flat ; and 
Mr. Malcolm, Kinlochewe. 

It is beyond my power to state precisely at what time each 
station was taken up, but the whole of the above parties were in 
occupation of them in the year 1840. 

The number of the aborigines on the Goulburn and its tribu- 
taries at the time of my first settling there, was probably about 
five or six hundred. They were generally scattered about in 
small tribes in various parts on the rivers and creeks, but occa- 
sionally collected in large numbers. At first they killed several 
of the men in the employment of the settlers, and some of their 
sheep and cattle ; but, by using conciliatory measures, they gradu- 
ally became well disposed towards the white inhabitants. From 
the statement of the natives themselves, they seem to have been, 
much more numerous some few years before our arrival amongst 
them, but they suffered severely from the small-pox, of which 
disease many of them bore evident marks ; in fact, individuals 
may be seen to this day who have plainly suffered from that 
malady. From their first acquaintance with the white population, 
their numbers have diminished from disease and other causes, 
until there are perhaps scarcely one-fifth of the number above 
stated, and it seems probable that in a few years they will 
become extinct. 

I have the honour to be, 

Your Excellency's most obedient servant, 

To His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 


210 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

No. 4=3. 

Amherst, Eurobank, 6th September 1853. 


In answer to your letter requesting me to communicate any 
information that I may be able to give respecting the early settle- 
ment of a portion of this colony, I have much pleasure in for- 
warding the accompanying document. 

I have revised it carefully, and believe that the facts stated 
are correct, to the best of my knowledge and recollection. 

My interest in the colony, arising from early association, has 
long been great, and though uncomfortably disturbed by recent 
important changes in its social aspect, is still so much as to 
cause me to hope that its history may be rescued from oblivion. 

I cannot but trust that there is some promise of this being 
now done in a manner which must gratify all who can appre- 
ciate graphic records and vivid descriptions. 

I remain, my dear Mr. La Trobe, 

Very faithfully yours, 

a B. HALL. 
To His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Melbourne. 

Muster Cattle on Maneroo. In the year 1840 I assisted in 
mustering on the plains of Maneroo a herd of cattle, belonging 
to a Dr. Shirwin, and purchased from him by a mercantile firm in 
Sydney to send to Port Phillip as a speculation. 

Start for Port Phillip. Thirteen hundred mixed cattle were 
gathered, with which our party started in August for Port Phillip 
by way of Yass. 

Many other Herds on the Road. There were several other 
herds travelling on this road at the time. It was said that there 
were 20,000 cattle between Yass and Melbourne. However this 
may have been, there were so many different parties moving with 
stock in the same line as ourselves as made it necessary that great 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 211 

care should be exercised to prevent the mixing of herds, and con- 
sequent annoyance and confusion. 

The Crossing-places over the Rivers. This was particularly 
the case at the crossing-places over the rivers, where, sometimes 
from accident, bad management, or from the cattle proving refrac- 
tory, one party would occupy the ford for two or three days. It 
was usual for the parties which might be a day's stage, or even 
more, in front or behind, to send all their men that could be 
spared to assist at such times. 

The intermediate district through which the road lay was very 
thinly settled and stocked, but still it was all nominally taken up. 
There was, however, abundance of grass and water for travelling 
herds without interfering with the resident stock. 

The "Major's Line." In approaching the district of Port 
Phillip we understood that the line which we followed was that 
struck out by Major Mitchell on his return from Portland Bay. 

Finding, when we reached the Goulburn Eiver, that the cattle 
market in Melbourne was overstocked, it was determined to place 
the herd on a run if it could be found. 

Campaspe. With this view the country was explored to the 
north of Major Mitchell's return line, first down the Campaspe ; 
but though there was no station below what is now Mr. Lynott's 
(one formed below it having been abandoned on account of the 
attack of the natives), the country looked so parched up and 
uninviting that it was not taken up. 

Lower Loddon. The same cause deterred us from occupying 
the Lower Loddon, which had been already passed by others as 
worthless, the value of it and the country to the north generally 
as a winter run for stock not having then been ascertained. 

Halt the Herd at Glenmona. In order more perfectly to- 
prosecute the search for available country, the herd was halted at 
the creek lately occupied by McNeil and Hall, near Eurobank,, 
whence excursions were made in various directions. 

Button, Simson, and Darlot. This creek was then occupied 
by an out-station of Messrs. Button, Simson, and Darlot, who 
had recently arrived from the Sydney district with one of the 
largest establishments that had ever come overland. It formed 
the western portion of their run, their eastern boundary being 

212 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

forty miles distant, near Mount Alexander. On this same creek, 
to the southward, nearer to the Maiden Hills, the Messrs. Hodg- 
kinsou were established, the southern portion of their run having 
been previously held by Messrs. Lang and Griffin, who had moved 
from it to Mount Elephant, and prior to them by a Mr. Bowman 
(or Borman), who, I understood, was drowned in going by sea 
from Melbourne to Sydney. At this time there were no stations 
to the north of this part of the country. 

Avoca River. The Avoca was also unoccupied except at its 
source in the Amphitheatre, among the Pyrenees, where Mr. Irvine 
had a sheep station. There had been a station taken up about ten 
miles below this by a Mr. Oliphant, but one or two of his shepherds 
having been killed by the natives it was deserted, and occupied 
afterwards by Mr. Irvine. Mr. Briggs, who finally settled at the 
Grampians, had halted hereabouts for some weeks on his way 
down from Bathurst with sheep. 

Southerly from this neighbourhood the country was held by 
Messrs. Donald and Hamilton (west from Mount Misery); 
by Messrs. Learmonth (north-east and south from the same hill); 
by Mr. McCallum (north from Mount Beckwith), he having pur- 
chased from Mr. Hawdon ; in the same line proceeding easterly, 
by Mr. Donald Cameron, and further on by Captain McLachlan, 
to the north of whom were Mr. Lachlan Mackinnon, who after- 
wards sold to Mr. Hunter ; and Mr. Colin Mackinnou, who 
disposed of his station to the Messrs. Joyce and moved on to the 

River Wimmera ; Mount Cole. Proceeding west past the 
Avoca, we found the Mount Cole branch of the Eiver Wimmera 
occupied at the upper part ; first by Mr. Irvine with sheep ; next to 
him by Mr. Lynott with cattle of Dr. Imlay's, of Twofold Bay ; 
and below him by Mr. Francis. 

Mr. Francis was killed in 1842 by a wound inflicted by a 
madman whom he had imprudently employed. 

Mr. Lynott about the same time sold his station to Mr. J. A. 
Cameron for 1,300, who lately disposed of it to Mr. C. 
Williamson of Melbourne for 30,000. 

Want of Water to tlie North. On exploring the unoccupied 
country to the north, we found it without water. Places to which 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 213 

we were taken by the natives with assurances that there would 
be plenty of water, we found quite dry. This was particularly 
remarkable in the channel of the Wimmera, which looked as if it 
had not run below the stations of Mr. Clarke of Bowling Forest 
(then managed by Mr. Francis) for some years. 

Mount William, Wimmera. From this district to the Mount 
William branches of the Wimmera there were no settlers ; though 
Mr. Blow shortly afterwards came in upon the intervening space 
with sheep of Mr. Sinclair's (of Van Diemen's Land), occupying 
country which is now held by Dr. Blundell and Dr. Thomson, 
it having first passed through the hands of Mr. John Allan, and 
thence I believe into the possession of the Bank of Australasia. 

Near to Mount William Mr. Horace Wills, from the Murrum- 
bidgee River, was settled. He had sold a portion of his run to 
Captain Bunbury. Mr. Kirk was superintending a station east 
from Mount William on the Hopkins River ; this was afterwards 
sold to Messrs. McG-ill and Ross, and by them recently disposed 
of to Messrs. Richardson and Wright, and Rodger. From these 
stations north for twenty miles, following the course of the 
Wimmera, there was no one ; beyond this distance Captain Briggs 
was settled with sheep brought down from near Bathurst, the 
property of the Redfern estate there. These were sold to Mr. 
Boyd, of Sydney notoriety, and next purchased, I believe, by 
the present proprietor, Mr. Carfrae. 

Plains and Northern Wimmera. North of this place, the 
plains and River Wimmera itself were totally unoccupied, little 
known, and supposed to be worthless for stock. 

Progress and Cause of Settlement of the Inferior Northern 
Country. At this time the richer portions only of the colony 
found favour in the eyes of intending settlers as only being calcu- 
lated to afford marketable stock. Afterwards, when melting 
down had been established into a system rendering settlers inde- 
pendent of the limited market of Melbourne, and giving a value 
to lean stock in consequence of their being in demand to replace 
stock boiled down from the richer runs, country till then despised 
was greedily taken up. The northern plains and the parts more 
immediately watered by the Wimmera and its tributaries were 
occupied under these circumstances. Then it was discovered that 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

tracts which had been passed over as barren in summer had a 
peculiar value in winter, and in fact it gradually became apparent 
that they were second to no district in their capacity for producing 
fat stock, the fattening seasons, however, being different. 

Water becoming more permanent. Their condition also, of 
being in a great part without water, seemed to have altered, and 
creeks which had formerly been dry for long periods now filled 
with the regular rains. 

We take ^lp a Run. Finding the vacant country between 
Captain Bunbury's and Mr. Briggs's stations in some respects 
suitable for our purpose, we occupied it, intending, however, to 
remain there only for a time, during which search for a more 
favourable spot might be prosecuted. 

The Station changes hands. The station so formed remained 
permanent, passing into the hands of Messrs. Rose and Jackson, 
and from them to Mr. Horace Wills Mr. Rose, in 1843, taking up 
a run to the west of the Grampians, between Mount Zero and 
the Victoria Range. At this time, following the Grampians 
round the south-west, there was no station beyond that of Captain 
Bunbury till Mount Sturgeon was reached, where Dr. Martin, 
of Heidelberg, had a herd of cattle in charge of Mr. Knowles. 

Shortly after I settled, however, Mr. Chirnside took up a small 
creek flowing on to the plains from Mount William. 

To the south-east Messrs. Stevens and Thomson had arrived 
overland with sheep from Yass, and occupied the Fiery Creek. 
East of them were the Messrs. Camphell, who had settled at Mount 
Cole about a year before. 

Between the Grampians and Victoria Range a Mr. Dwyer took 
up in 1842 some country at the back of Dr. Martin's run. 

River Glenelg, upper part vacant. The Upper Glenelg, at its 
rise amongst the ranges, was "unoccupied, nor am I aware that 
any country for a considerable distance west from its source Avas 
taken up till later, and all towards Mount Arapiles and on the 
waters running to the Wimrnera from the western side of the 
Grampians was yet vacant. 

River Norton. It was not till 1843 that Mr. Rose took up 
a run on the head waters of the Norton (or McKenzie), which 
I had explored much earlier, for a heifer station, reaching it 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 215 

through a wild and beautiful pass, now called "Rose's Gap," but 
which I did not then think worth occupying. 

Victoria Range. It was about 1843 that Mr. D. C. Simson 
took up country lying immediately beneath the Victoria Range 
to the west, and various stations were quickly formed on the 
Wimmera and Upper Glenelg, Mr. Sherratt establishing himself 
on the latter river below Mr. Simson, having removed from near 
Mount Alexander. 

/ leave the Grampians. At the end of 1842 I left my residence 
at the Grampians and purchased a station from Mr. Simson on 
the creek which now forms the western boundary of the county 
of Talbot. My acquaintance with the former neighbourhood 
consequently ceased to be kept up except by casual visits. 

Loddon District, &c. The Mindai. Being thus settled in 
the Loddon district, in 1843 I formed one of a party, consisting 
of Mr. McNeil, Mr. Darlot, and myself, with two natives, to 
explore the plains to the north of the Pyrenees, induced thereto 
by the accounts the blacks gave of a large lake there, which 
we were anxious to see, in spite of the " mindai," which they 
gave us to understand infested it, making a prey of emus and 
blackfellows, and which the old lubras of the tribe asserted would 
never allow us to return, an imaginary fate which they bewailed 
with much lamentation and weeping, endeavouring to deter us by 
picturing the immensity of the monster. 

One old and hideous hag, in particular, dabbed her yam-stick 
into the ground dramatically, and affirmed that "Cobra belonging 
to mindai, along o' this one station, tail like it along o' Mr. 
MeCallum ! " (thus indicating a length of about eleven miles 
only !). 

The notion of discovering two such wonders, as a lake in a 
waterless country and a serpent of such magnificent dimensions, 
only stimulated our determination ; so, crossing the Avoca in April, 
1843, we struck into a dry creek (the Avon), running north from 
the Pyrenees. Finding it without water throughout its course, 
which we followed for a day and a half, till discerning no sign of 
moisture in its channel, and being in great doubt how far the 
blacks were to be depended on as to their knowledge of any per- 
manent water thereabouts, we turned towards the^Wimmera. 

216 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

This, by travelling all night steering by a star we reached 
early on the third morning. Our horses had been two days and 
three nights without anything to drink, except a quart of water to- 
each, which we gave them from our keg, pouring it into the crown 
of a cabbage-tree hat, into which the fold of a mackintosh cloak 
had been first fitted, to make it hold water. 

The winters of 18434 proving wet, these various northern 
creeks filled up, and the country near the Lake Bainenong was 
reached and occupied by Messrs. J. and W. Donald and the 
Messrs. Wedge, who sold to Mr. Robert Macredie. 

The Lower Avoca was also taken up first, below the stations 
of Mr. Irvine, by Mr. J. L. Foster and Mr. Archdale (since dead), 
near Bealiba ; next by Messrs. Ellis, Shore, and Elliott, followed 
by others, down its whole course. Nearer the Pyrenees, on a 
branch of the Avoca, were Mr. Colin Mackinnon (removal from 
the Loddon) and Mr. James Campbell. 

Avon River. On the sources of the Avon, among the northern 
spurs of the Pyrenees, a large tract of country was taken up 
about this time by Mr. Laurence Rostron. 

Pleasure of exploring. There was a wonderful charm in 
exploring country thus uninhabited except by the natives and 
wild birds and animals. 

These occupied, without altering the face of nature, which, 
heterodox as the opinion in these days may seem, was, to my eye, 
more beautiful than in its present aspect of national pretensions and 
" magnificence." Herds of kangaroo abounded in the forests, and 
emus grazed over the plains, in some cases so tame as to approach 
the rider with a strange gaze of curiosity. 

The creeks were then all fringed with reeds and rushes, 
undevoured by hungry cows and gaunt working bullocks. These 
reeds and rushes formed a beautiful edging to the dark solemn 
pools overhung by the water-loving gum-trees, where wild fowl 
abounded, as the plains did with quail and turkeys. 

Abundance of Game. About the Grampians, in particular, 
game was most plentiful. My stockman repeatedly brought in 
young live emu, which he had ridden down ; and kangaroo-tail 
soup, in its abundance, ceased to have any attraction for us. I 
had tame emu chickens performing their strange juvenile antic* 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 217 

round my reed mia-mia yellow-striped and downy little 
objects, difficult to be recognised as the sources from which 
future mature emus were to grow. A female kangaroo was a 
familiar intimate of my hut, and on excellent terms with the 
dogs that had murdered its poor mother. Wild ducks, geese, 
and swans were constant visitors upon the water-hole opposite 
my door, and occasionally a pelican, or spoon-bill, appeared as a 


Hostilities. At the period of my entrance into the colony of 
Australia Felix, in almost every part of it the mutual relation of 
the natives and settlers, at first, was one of distrust and violence. 
This, it was stated, arose from the attempts of the blacks to steal 
sheep, or other property of value, from the settlers. These 
robberies were often accompanied with violence and murder, 
committed in the treacherous manner common to most savages. 

Such occurrences naturally led to reprisals, in which the 
superior arms and energy of the settlers and of their servants told 
with fatal effect upon the native race. 

Instances of this deplorable result might often be observed by 
the explorer in the early days of the settlement of the colony. 

Native Skeleton in a Waterhole. When I was passing with 
the cattle over the Eastern Wimmera, a shepherd came up and 
entered into conversation with me. He held a carbine in the 
place of a crook, and an old regulation pistol was stuck in his belt, 
instead of the more classic pastoral pipe pastoral pursuits in 
Australia being attended, at this time, with circumstances more 
calculated to foster a spirit of war than one of music. After 
some conversation he led me to a waterhole, where the skeleton 
of a native exposed by the shrinking of the water in the summer 
heat lay on the mud. There was a bullet-hole through the back 
of the skull. " He was shot in the water," the man told me, " as 
he was a-trying to hide hisself after a scrimmage ! There was 
a lot more tother side." 

Bones under a Gum-tree. " I might see the bones a-sticking up 
out of the ground close to the big fallen gum-tree, where they'd 
been stowed away all of a heap" a grave good enough, he 

218 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

took occasion to assure me, for the " sneaking, murdering, black 

Bones under the Logs of a Bush Fire. On another branch of 
the Wimmera, when looking for the horses one morning, after 
camping out, my black boy came back, his complexion changed 
to yellow Avith fright ; taking me away to a short distance, he 
showed me three or four bodies, partially concealed by logs. 

There were numerous tracks of horses round about. He 
explained the occurrence in his way "I believe blackfellow 
bimbulalee sheep all about. Then whitefellow gilbert and put 
'em along o' fire." 

Every station had some tragic tale connected with this subject. 
At one, a paroquet was pointed out as it ran about the floor of the 
hut, quite tame. It had been the only thing left at an out-station 
by the blacks, after murdering the hut-keeper, and stealing the 
utensils and rations. It had been found perched on a tie-beam 
over the dead body, and brought in to the home-station. 

Hut-keeper left for Dead. At another, the servant who brought 
in the tea and damper had his face distorted. He had once been 
a good-looking man, but the blacks came on him one morning 
when he was shifting the hurdles, battered his face in, left him for 
dead, and robbed the hut. 

Spears taken out of Cattle. At a third, there was a heap of 
pieces of spears piled up on the rough slab mantelpiece. These 
had been taken out of various cows and bullocks, on a cattle run, 
where the natives had attacked them in the ranges, killing many 
and driving the rest away. The place was shown where they 
had had their corrobboree, to celebrate the triumph. The ground 
was beaten smooth and hard where they had danced, and bark 
plates lay about on which the choice morsels had been heaped. 

Cattle driven off tJie Run. On this run, out of 1,500 head of 
cattle, all had been driven off but about 30 " crawlers." It was 
many weeks before they were re-mustered. 

Sheep driven away; legs broken. From another station, 
a whole flock of sheep had been taken away, far to the north ; a 
few only were recovered, numbers being found by the pursuers 
with their legs broken, a cruel sort of tethering resorted to in 
those days by the natives under these circumstances. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 219 

Settler speared. Again, at another station, a stockyard was 
pointed out in which one of the earlier proprietors had been speared 
while milking a cow. 

Natives made ^lseful. Yet, with all this, the natives generally 
were welcomed at the stations for the most part, and they made 
themselves useful in many ways, as for instance in stripping bark, 
finding lost horses, and in acting as guides and messengers ; but 
they seem always to have availed themselves of any opening for 
attack left by incaution at least for a long time after the first 
occupation of the country. 

Numerous about the Gramjjians. Fish Weirs. About the 
Grampians they were numerous at the time of my residence, 
and had apparently been much more so, judging from the traces left 
by them in the swampy margins of the river. At these places 
we found many low sod banks extending across the shallow 
branches of the river, with apertures at intervals, in which were 
placed long, narrow, circular nets (like a large stocking) made of 
rush-work. Heaps of muscle shells were also found abounding on 
the banks, and old mia-mias where the earth around was strewed 
with the balls formed in the mouth when chewing the farinaceous 
matter out of the bulrush root. 

Bird Catching. They had the art here of catching birds with 
a long slender stick like a fishing rod, at the end of which was 
a noose of grass twisted up. With this apparatus and a screen 
of boughs, they succeeded in putting salt on birds' tails to some 

One old villainous-looking black of my acquaintance used 
to catch large bundles of quail, which he would barter freely 
for suet. The kidney fat of a sheep would purchase a dozen 

Craivfish. The lubras fished up crawfish from the shallow 
muddy water-holes with their toes and yam-sticks, and exchanged 
them for the dainties of civilized life. A large tin-dishful'might 
be obtained in barter by a small expenditure of tea and sugar, and 
when treated with a certain degree of gastronomic science formed 
a not unwelcome change of diet from mutton chops or salt beef, 
which in those days was the almost unvaried food of the " cormo- 
rant squattocracy." 

220 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Native Tracks. I here first saw the tracks formed by the natives 
in travelling over any particular pass. There was one across the 
Grampian Range, about 15 miles north of Mount William, leading 
up a wild romantic glen, and over onto the source of the Glenelg. 
I found another through the tea-tree scrub of the Wannon, near 
Mount Sturgeon, from which, on each side of the river, other 
tracks diverged over the open ground ; they were much like cattle 
tracks, except that they passed over places which cattle were not 
likely to attempt. 

Grass-tree. One variety of food was in use among the natives 
here which was new to me at the time. It was a portion of the 
grass-tree top. This was first pulled out of the stem, a few 
preliminary taps being made with the back of the tomahawk, and 
then a length of soft, white, succulent matter neatly twisted off 
the lower extremity, where it had been embedded in the rugged 
trunk ; it reminded me of asparagus in the proportion of tender 
to tough. 

I also observed them take a red grub out from the grass-tree, 
which I was informed was " merrijig " and " likit sugar," with an 
assurance further, that I was a " stupid fellow" for not adopting it 
as anarticle of diet. I cannot confirm the character given of this eat- 
able, however, not having been induced by the scorn and wonder of 
the aborigines to test their bill of fare further than by trying the 
crawfish and grass-tree. I conceive it quite possible, however, 
that an unprejudiced person might pronounce grubs red or white 
less repulsive in appearance as food than a fat. delicious oyster. 

I am by no means convinced that, while in o,ur self-satisfied 
horror at seeing fellow-men, black and savage though they 
be, eating things certainly not unlike worms, we abstain from 
Australian grubs, we may not be losing the enjoyment of a delicacy 
second only to white-bait. 

How the Blacks eat Emu Skin. When endeavouring to find 
the lake called Bainenong, before spoken of, I shot an emu, which 
the blacks who were with us received as a great prize. They 
cooked and eat it in a style which amused us much. Having 
first roughly plucked it, they took off the skin, which they stuffed 
with tender gum twigs ; thus prepared, it was delicately toasted 
at a slow fire, and then rich, yellow, oily lengths of what looked 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 221 

like the thickest of the fattest possible goose-skin were trimmed 
off and swallowed, as the Lazaroni of Naples are said to suck 
down macaroni. 

Places of Interment. From one or two instances which came 
before us, I am inclined to believe that the blacks about the 
Grampians used to bury their dead in hollow trees. On one 
occasion I discovered my stockman manifesting a mysterious 
dislike to a particular vicinity, and on questioning him ascertained 
that, at the foot of a hollow tree, at the place in question, were 
the half-burnt remains of a human being. At another, a dead body 
was plainly perceptible high up the hollow of an old gum-tree. 

Superiority of the Loddon and Marrable Natives. The natives 
at the Grampians were, generally speaking, a much inferior tribe 
in appearance to those of the more fertile districts, such as the 
Loddon and Marrable. It seemed as if they depended physically 
upon the nature of the country which they occupied, the richer 
portions of the colony nourishing its inhabitants into better 
grown and handsomer men and women than the less fertile parts. 
About the Loddon and Marrable, I have seen men who might 
have served as models of symmetry and strength, and whose 
figures were perfection as regards the animal man. The lubras 
also here were often found tall, well-shaped, and good-looking, as 
far as could be judged of through a coating of grease and various 
pigments and filth white, black, and red. 

Inferiority of the Grampian Blacks. At the Grampians, both 
sexes were distinguished by pre-eminent ugliness and dirt, as far 
as I had opportunities of judging. 

Absence of Feeling of Revenge. In all parts of the colony in 
which I have been, the character of the natives seems to be free 
from the inclination to vengeance so common among most savages ; 
at least to vengeance towards the civilized intruder upon their 

Their murders of and thefts from the white population seem 
generally to have been prompted by mere acquisitiveness, the 
objects of their desire being different from those which tempt the 
criminals of civilized communities. 

The diplomatists of their tribes may even perhaps have pleaded 
justification that their kangaroos and emus were driven away by 
the flocks and herds of the settlers for reprisals upon an invading 

222 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

enemy, stimulating a sort of guerrilla warfare, not indeed with the 
war cry Pro arts et focis, but for a reason no less cogent to men 
whose undisciplined appetites may be presumed to have been 
keen enough. Their cannibalism and cutting out of warriors' 
kidney fat were only manifestations probably of their religion or 
superstition, as the rack and the faggot have been, and the prison 
is now, the means by which the dominant orthodoxy of the day is 
vindicated on the other side of the world. 

Apart from these peculiarities, I am of opinion that they 
may, towards the whites, at least in the main, be considered a 
placable people ; for let them be offended ever so bitterly, and 
overtures then be proffered towards reconciliation through the 
medium of the cheap gifts which pervert their wisdom, and their 
wrath evaporates like the morning dew. 

I have known their dogs to be shot (an offence generally of 
the deepest dye against their social code) and the tribe depart in 
consequence, shaking as it were the dust from their feet against 
the station where the offence had been committed, the men jabber- 
ing all kinds of native imprecations, as was supposed, and the 
women howling ululations and hugging their dead mangy 
darlings in their arms. In a month they have come back smilingly 
for tobacco, protesting with the utmost amiability that " all gone 
sulky now." 

C. B. HALL. 



In answer to Your Excellency's communication of 29th July, 
requesting me to supply any information in my power as to the 
time and circumstances of the first settlement and occupation of 
the Mount Cole country, I have great pleasure in mentioning such 
particulars as have come within my knowledge as an old settler, 
although not one of the first inhabitants. 

I have the honour to be, with respectful regards, 
Your most obedient servant, 

To His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 223 

In October 1838 I left London with my brother, and arrived 
at Hobarton in March 1839, with the intention of proceeding to 
Port Phillip. In VanDiemen's Land we bought about 2,000 sheep, 
which, after great trouble and delay, we landed at Williamstown 
without much loss. Many others were not so fortunate, losing 
half their cargo from stress of weather and close confinement. 
We also imported from Van Diemen's Land some fifteen horses. 

Our sheep cost us at first about 15s. per head, but prices were 
then rising rapidly, and the cost of shipment and the risk of loss 
were great. In the month of July 1839, 1 think sheep had reached 
2 per head in Port Phillip. During that winter, flour, owing 
partly to monopoly, rose- to 70 per ton in Melbourne. The wages 
of shepherds and hut-keepers reached about 40 per annum, and 
1 per week was given to extra hands. 

The sheep from Van Diemen's Land were all scabby, and the 
disease became much more virulent when they were put in yards 
in Port Phillip. This was a source of great trouble and expense, 
and the Act then in force prevented sheep from travelling except 
in February. 

We therefore spent the winter of 1839 at the Darebin Creek, 
under canvas on a small scale, and were there assailed by a suc- 
cession of floods, which continued at intervals until Christmas, 
on which day I saw a flock of sheep and half a dozen men nearly 
drowned in the Yarra. 

In summer, shearing was got over, and the wool sold at high 
prices, although much damaged (about Is. 6d. per pound in Mel- 
bourne). Then we explored for a run, and my brother, after 
surveying the then barren plains of the Loddon, selected the 
country at the foot of Mount Cole, as the best unoccupied tract. 
Thither we proceeded with the usual equipment, and in the begin- 
ning of March arrived at the Fiery Creek, a few miles from the 
base of Mount Cole. 

At that time the country was occupied from Geelongup to the 
Trawalla ranges, but was quite vacant beyond these to the north 
and west. We tenanted a large tract of country, as it was the 
fashion then for squatters to occupy the best spots as stations, 
without much regard to their distance from each other, but our 
dimensions were shorn by flock-owners from Sydney, who preferred 
appropriation to original discovery. It was upon this occasionr 

224 Letters from, Victorian Pioneers. 

that the Commissioner of the Western District did me the honour 
of designating me a8 a " shabby Scotchman," although I was 
not aware of the fact until very lately. 

In the year 1840 stock began to pass down from the Sydney side 
by the Major's Line, which was then deeply furrowed with dray 
tracks, but the plains to the south-west of Mount Cole remained 
unoccupied, the prevailing feeling among settlers at that time 
being that they were too bare and uncomfortable for either man or 
beast. The country at the head of the Hopkins was, however, 
taken up soon after ours, with Sydney flocks. The north side of 
Mount Cole was also occupied about 1841 with sheep and cattle, 
and depasturage gradually extended down the Wimmera, reaching 
Lake Hindmarsh about 1846. It was about 1848 that the Rich- 
ardson and the Avoca became settled, a change having come over 
the seasons, which supplied with water tracts of country which 
had appeared unavailable. 

To return to Mount Cole. About a year after our first occu- 
pation we began to feel settled, having subdued the scab. I was 
induced, however, very foolishly to sell the greater part of my 
sheep and run, from an idea that horses and cattle could be man- 
aged at much less expense. So they were, but, on the other hand, 
they produced a still smaller income, owing to the great deprecia- 
tion which took place about 1843, and continued for some five 
years from that time. Wool alone, I may observe, was indepen- 
dent of this change, and the returns derived from this source from 
England alone enabled the squatters to weather the storm, and the 
merchants and shopkeepers to carry on their business. Many of 
the original squatters, however, went down in my neighbourhood, 
and others took their place, buying stations in some cases at little 
more than a year's income. Squatters at that time, if they could 
not provide cash, could only get credit through a merchant, for the 
banks gave them no facilities otherwise. The result was that a 
large number of settlers were in receipt of advances which cost 
them about 20 per cent. It was not, I believe, until within the 
last five years that they became as a class independent in their 

The natives when we first went to Mount Cole were numerous, 
but nothing like a census of them was ever taken. When we 
first camped upon their grounds, as might be expected they made 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 225- 

a demonstration against us by collecting a body of fighting men. 
in our vicinity. 

It became necessary to dislodge them from their position, but, 
as five or six of us marched steadily up to their camp, with the 
intention of demanding an explanation, they all ran away, and 
never came round us again fcr twelve months. 

We met a black boy (Jacky), however, and induced him to come 
home with us, and he lived in or about our huts for about three 
years without ever leaving us for any length of time. He was 
very intelligent, and proved useful in tracking lost sheep, exploring 
country, &c., but when he came to a certain age he sought him- 
self a wife, and became a man and a savage. He was always 
honest and faithful, and at one time incurred some risk from a 
bushranger, who took his horse from him when he was tailing 
some heifers, and whom he resisted manfully until a pistol was 
presented at him. From a good many years' experience, I can> 
bear witness to the intelligence and good-feeling of the blacks,, 
and believe their capabilities to be almost equal to those of 
Europeans, but their associations from birth upwards are very 
powerful. I shall never forget a lesson I gave a fine young man, 
the son of King William, in geography. When I showed him 
the map of New Holland, he thought it was a plan of the run. 
Then I pointed out to him where we were at Mount Cole, and 
he took it all in. I then showed him the map of Asia, and he 
understood the relative size of its different parts. I then showed 
him the map of the world, with Asia in it, and he opened his eyes,, 
and made exclamations for five minutes together as the new idea 
flashed upon him. 

In 1851 I resided for four or five months at the station with 
Mrs. Campbell, and at one time there were about 100 natives en- 
camped beside us. I walked through them and introduced Mrs. C. 
When I came to King William I said, "Mrs. C. King W.," &c., 
when he took off a cocked hat and made a neat bow, but added, 
"Borak 1 Mrs. Campbell Mrs. Colin Campbell"; reserving the 
former honour for my senior brother's wife when he gets one. 

When I was last at the station in October 1852, 1 found that 
the very high wages given to the whites had caused the services 
of the natives to be regularly enlisted. About 40,000 sheep were 

1 Borak means uo, not so. ED. 

226 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

washed by them alone at Mount Cole, wages being given them at 
the rate of 12s. per week, and they went on steadily to the end of 
shearing. Two or three were receiving l a week as bullock- 
drivers. For ten years previous to this, I had seen them earning 
occasional wages, but I never saw them engaged with such per- 
severing energy as on this occasion. 

I think, therefore, that good wages would keep the able-bodied 
men fully employed, with an occasional spell, but when they get 
money the public-houses make sad havoc among them. Our tribe 
from the first saw very little of the Protectors, having to run the 
gauntlet of the Loddon blacks . to reach Jim Crow, but it often 
struck me that a voluntary protectorate might have been formed 
in some parts of the country. Suppose notice to have been given 
that settlers undertaking the charge of certain natives, and certi- 
fying that they had been employed by them for so long a time, 
would be entitled to receive blankets, clothing, &c., for their 
benefit, there would have been a great inducement to employ them, 
both on grounds of public duty and private interest. At least the 
disadvantages attending their labour would have been somewhat 
counterbalanced. In this way small parties of four or five might 
have been assigned to different stations, where habits of civilization 
would have grown upon them. 

The gregariousness of the natives has been the source of the 
strength of their wandering habits, which have prevented them 
from settling down in families on particular spots. 

They lived in clans, and their laws were not dissimilar to those 
of the Scotch Highlanders a century and a half ago. "Divide et 
impera" was I think the key to their improvement, but the system 
of Protectors in this colony was one which confirmed their gregarious 

With regard to missionaries : While the collection of a number 
of aborigines gives good opportunities, their settlement in distinct 
places offers a better field for making impressions. 

In the latter case they would require to be visited where they 
lived, and it may be hoped that some settlers would take an 
interest in their eternal welfare. I, for one, cannot sufficiently 
condemn myself for the neglect of valuable opportunities. At 
present I should say the natives are as hopeful subjects for Chris- 
tianity as many of the whites in the interior. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 227 

With squatting politics Your Excellency must have been ere 
now surfeited, and I have already trespassed enough upon your 
patience. However, perhaps you will excuse me for enclosing a 
" discourse " upon the subject in print, which has been the result 
of a good many years' study upon this subject. 

No. 4=5. 

MY DEAR SIR, lst August 1853. 

I am very sorry that so few names occur to me of the settlers 
who originally took up their runs in the vicinity of the Broken 
River and Lower Murray ; but almost all those who, to my know- 
ledge, occupied new country in those days are either dead or gone 

I put Mr. Holloway's name on the list, because I think he 
could give a good deal of information on the subject in general, 
although he did not settle in that particular locality. Should I 
recollect any more names, I .will forward them to you when I 
give you an account of the very little information that I possess 
individually on the matter. 

Allow me to remain, my dear Sir, 

Yours most sincerely, 

To His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

W. McKellar, Lima, Benalla 

Alex. Mackenzie Cheyne, Goulburn River 

Charles Ryan, Seven Creeks, Sydney Road 

Willm. Atkins, near Seymour 

Ephraim and John Howe 

W. McDonald, Junction of Goulburn and Murray 

Charles and James Rowan, Ovens River, care of Messrs. 

W. Bell and Co. 
W. Chisholm, King River 
John and Charles Manton. Melbourne 
Joseph Holloway 
Theophilus Keene, Lower Murray. 
Q 2 

228 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


IR Kyneton, 6th August 1853. 

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter 
of the 27th ult., requesting me to furnish you with such details 
relating to the first settlement of this province as I might be 
personally cognizant of. 

I now beg to transmit to you a paper, containing such infor- 
mation as I possess, relating to the above matter. 
I have the honour to be, Sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 

C. J. La Trobe, Esq., Lieutenant- Governor, &c., &c. 


In October 1838 I took up the station known as Seven 
Creeks, situated close to the Sydney road, about 35 miles from 
the River Goulburn. At that time there were only two stations 
occupied between the rivers Ovens and Goulburn, viz., one by 
Mr. H. K. Hughes, at Avenel, and the other, at Mangalore, River 
Goulburn, by some person on behalf of Major Anderson. Both 
those stations were taken up about June 1838. 

In the beginning of 1839, a police-station was formed at the 
crossing-place of the Broken River, and in the latter part of that 
year, and the beginning of 1840, the country in the neighbour- 
hood of that river was occupied by different settlers. 

In the beginning of 1840, the country now known as the 
Devil's River country was taken up by Messrs. Watson and 
Hunter ; and about the same time the country in the neighbour- 
hood of the Upper Goulburn was occupied. In the end of 1840, 
and the beginning of 1841, the country on the River Goulburn, 
below Major Anderson's station, began to be occupied, and soon 
afterwards the banks of the Murray below the junction of the 

I know personally very little of the first occupation of the 
country lying between the rivers Ovens and Murray, but may 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 229 

mention the names of Dr. Mackay and Mr. G. Faithfull, both still 
residing on the Ovens, as original occupants of that portion of 
the district, and as likely to be able to afford you every informa- 
tion with regard to its first settlement. 

In the months of July and August J838 I saw a good deal 
of that part of the Western Port district lying between the 
Sydney road and Major Mitchell's homeward track ; the country 
on the Melbourne side of the track appeared to be pretty well 
occupied, but there was at that time only one station on the 
other side, viz., that occupied by Captain Hutton, near Mount 

With regard to the aborigines, my means of information are 
very meagre. I have no means of even guessing at their numbers 
when I first settled in Port Phillip, as, for three or four years, 
they very seldom appeared at my station, and then only in small 

I am glad to say that I never had any collision with them, 
nor in fact suffered any serious annoyance from them. I am 
aware that in several parts of the Murray district they proved 
very troublesome in the years 1838 and 1839 ; but I have reason 
to believe that, if the settlers had used proper precautions, in the 
generality of cases they would not have suffered. 

Kyneton, 6th August 1853. 

No. 4,7. 

Fiery Creek, August 18th 1853. 

I duly received your circular from Bell, and avail myself of 
the first subsequent post day to reply to your queries. I am qmte 
willing to obey your injunction, though I fear that beyond what- 
ever value may attach to the mere record of the date of settlement 
of the country, all that I have to impart is comprised in the 
plodding routine of a squatter's life, unrelieved by startling 

230 Letters from Victorian Pioiieers. 

incident or perilous adventure, and nearly destitute of interest. It 
might be enlivened by anecdotes of the effect of solitude upon the 
mind, the peculiarities it induces, and the self-delusion engendered 
amidst what Dr. Johnson would have called its "anfractuosities," 
but this would be treading upon egotistical ground, where our 
resources are abundant a due sense of our own merits being one 
of the virtues which solitude imparts, and therefore inconsistent 
with matter-of-fact statement ; besides to diverge at all from the 
path which you have pointed out would far exceed the limits of 
a letter, the dangers of the Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio being 
already imminent. 

Upon reaching the Ovens in June 1840, with sheep from 
Sydney, and finding that disease had been spread along the road 
by the stock of Messrs. Button and Darlot, we turned aside and 
ascended the Broken River nearly to its source, passing the 
stations of Messrs. Brodribb, McKellar, and Peter Stuckey; then 
crossing a low dividing range we came upon an elevated plateau 
at the foot of the Alps, known as the Mount Battery country, 
which had a short time previously been discovered by Messrs. 
Watson and Hunter, and was then in process of settlement by them. 
Some unsuccessful attempts had been made to penetrate the Alps 
in search of new country about the time that Count Strzelecki was 
engaged upon his exploring expedition. The aboriginal natives 
were very troublesome in that locality ; they murdered two 
men in the service of Mr. Waugh, took and kept six hundred of 
his sheep, and ransacked his dwelling. He came over to me, 
having on one woollen stocking and one cotton sock, and com- 
plained that they had not left him even a pannikin. As illus- 
trative of the early settleme'nt of the country, I may conclude the 
history of this gentleman's sojourn upon the Devil's River. Some 
travelling sheep of Mr. McFarlane's, infected with catarrh, 
camped round his folds, and imparted the scourge to his flocks. 
Between the ravages of this disease and the constant attacks of 
the natives, he lost all his sheep, and left the river I believe a 
ruined man, to add another and a bitter chapter to the next edition 
of the " Experiences of a Settler in New South Wales." A hut- 
keeper was also murdered at an out-station of Messrs. Watson 
and Hunter, two miles from where we were camped. It is 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 231 

probable that he went out of his hut to ascertain what the dogs 
were barking at, and that a blackfellow stepped from behind a 
tree and tomahawked him in the back of the head, for he was 
found quite dead, with his hands in his pockets and his pipe in 
his mouth. The shepherd returned to the hut shortly after, 
finding it pillaged, and encountering the lifeless body of his mate. 
The shock nearly overpowered his reason ; he threw off his hat, 
coat, and boots, and ran to the home-station five miles distant, 
climbed to the roof of the hut, and sitting astride of the ridge, 
cried " Murder ! murder ! " continuously for half an hour before 
he became sufficiently reassured to impart his intelligence. The 
effect of these atrocities upon the minds of the men, perpetrated in 
a lonely, isolated spot, remote from assistance, and where nothing 
distracted their ideas or prevented their brooding upon the one 
subject, was great. Their fears magnified the danger to such an 
extent, that they lived in a continual state of anxiety, apprehen- 
sion, and alarm. The huts were loopholed to enfilade each other. 
They neither dined nor slept without their arms being within reach ; 
the barking of a dog was a signal of danger which sent every 
man to his post ; we had to place two shepherds with every flock, 
and when the hut-keeper went to the creek for water, a man was 
posted on the bank with a double-barrelled gun to guard him from 
the waddy of the ubiquitous aboriginal, who was supposed to 
lurk behind every gum-tree and to peer from every bush. In 
February 1841 we resumed our journey by following the Broken 
River down to the Goulburn, and the latter to near its junction 
with the Murray, when we struck into Sir T. Mitchell's outward 
track and followed it to the Wimmera, but our expectations of 
the country to be found there, formed from his description, were 
not realized. A series of dry seasons had altered the face of the 
country, and the fertile region which had presented itself to his 
delighted view had been converted into an arid waste, destitute 
of either grass or water. 

Mrs. Redfern's station (now Mr. Carfrae's) was then the 
lowest upon the river ; we followed the river upwards, passing the 
stations of Messrs. Hall and H. S. Wills, and halted under Mount 
William, from whence we were driven by foot-rot and the blacks. 
At this time a strong prejudice existed against plains as runs for 

232 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

sheep. It was generally supposed that the want of shelter, both 
from the rays of the siin in summer and the biting blasts in winter, 
"would soon break down their constitutions, and consequently many 
persons had passed over this Fiery Creek District, and proceeded 
many miles further from their markets to occupy much worse 
runs, and thus, though surrounded by stations, we found it most 
opportunely at our disposal. We took possession of a portion of 
it in May 1841. Much of the neighbouring country had been 
taken up the previous year by Messrs. A. and C. Campbell at 
Mount Cole ; and by Donald and Hamilton, Hassell and Hamilton, 
G-. and T. Macredie, G-. Allan, and Wright and Montgomerie, upon 
the upper part of the Mount Emu Creek. Mr. Kirk held Bur- 
rumbeep (McGill's run), and Mr. Wyselaskie's was then the 
next station upon the Hopkins. Messrs. Black and Steele adjoined 
us to the eastward. The lower part of this creek was dry for 
many miles, and its entrance to, and exit from, Lake Bolac 
could not be traced. In August of that year (1841), Mr. L. 
Mackinnon took up Mount Fyans, and Mr. Chirnside possessed 
himself of the run which we had vacated at Mount William. Two 
young men of the name of Mather formed a station under the 
Grampians ; one of them met with so dreadful a fate that it is 
worthy of mention in any record of the early settlement of the 
district. He remained alone at the homestead while his brother 
was at their only out-station. A short distance from his hut door 
he was employed cutting down a large tree, which fell across his 
legs, broke both his thighs, and pinned him to the earth. In this 
position he must have lain for three days before death terminated 
his sufferings ; he had scraped two large holes in the ground with 
his hands in the desperate hope of extricating himself. The 
agony of this protracted torture was probably heightened by the 
gathering round him of native dogs, greedy for their prey, and 
which may not have been restrained from commencing their 
attack during the short remainder of his life ; for on the fourth 
day, when his body was found, portions of it had been devoured, 
And if my memory serves me aright there were indications of his 
having endeavoured to scare them away. 

The first operations when taking up a new country, where 
the hostility of the aborigines Avas to be apprehended, and the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 233 

ravages of native dogs to be guarded against, were to provide 
for the safety of the stock. Great hardships and privations 
were almost unwittingly endured, for the constant occupation of 
mind and body, the newly acquired responsibility, the wild inde- 
pendence, and the charm of novelty all conspired to give interest 
to the pursuit. It certainly was not at the time when we lived in 
a gunyah or sod hut, and fared upon mutton chops served up in 
the fryingpan, with tea in a quart-pot and a slice of damper three 
times a day, that we reflected upon the hardships of our lot. 
It would, I fear, be foreign to the object you have in view to trace 
the improvement in our social state from the days of unvarying 
tea, damper, and mutton when our wants were few, and limited 
to the compass of our own ability to supply them through the 
several grades of cabbages, potatoes, eggs, tomato jam, news- 
papers, butter, glass windows, books, pumpkin pies, post offices, 
and preserving melons, up to our present state of complicated 
wants, enjoying most of the comforts and some of the luxuries of 
life. It is with much regret I learn that you are about to leave us. 
I trust very sincerely that I may have an opportunity of seeing 
you ere then. I shall make an effort at all events to say adieu 
personally, and if this should be impracticable I trust that you will 
remember me amongst the warmest of the many well-wishers you 
will leave in Victoria ; and believe me to be, 

Ever yours, my dear Mr. La Trobe, 
Very sincerely, 

To C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

No. 48. 
g IR Point Cook, Nov. 1st, 1853. 

I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 
July 27th. Having been addressed to Geelong, it went to my 
upper stations, and I only received it a few days since. 

I shall be now happy to give any information relative to the 
progress of this colony, but am at a loss where to begin and where 

234 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

to end. I will, therefore, give a brief review of what has come 
under my own observation since my arrival in the colony. 

I arrived in Adelaide in January 1839, and had no opportunity 
of judging of the capabilities of the country, although I visiled 
the most remote station, and that was only 30 miles from Adelaide; 
but I was surprised to find parties of such a speculative spirit, 
raising the price of land by false capital to a fictitious value, and 
paying for the same with long-dated bills. I arrived in Sydney 
two months afterwards, and was much disappointed with the 
poor, barren appearance of the country. There had been a series of 
unusually dry seasons ; butcher's meat being so poor, looked so black 
and unwholesome that I could not touch it. No vegetables to be 
had at any price. I started up the country to invest in sheep, and 
on my way to the Murrumbidgee did not travel a single mile 
without seeing dead horses and working bullocks. Hay or corn 
was not to be had at the inns. I saw, upon stations where cattle 
were eager to get a little water, them crawl to a waterhole all but 
dried up, and there get bogged, and leave their carcases where 
there Avere hundreds of others. No one but an eye-witness can 
have any idea of the state of New South Wales at that period. 
Besides the unfavourable seasons, the country was overrun with 
bushrangers. Neither life nor property was safe, not even in vil- 
lages. When travelling with the mail, I found at every inn horse- 
men and gigs waiting to accompany the mail for protection. I saw 
the corpse at Gray's inn of one who had been shot while in charge of 
a dray. I saw another near Goulburn, and I was within a few miles 
of Gundaroo when Scotchie and Whitten's party had possession of 
that village ; and as Mr. Hume (brother of Hamilton Hume, dis- 
coverer of the Murray river) was going with his servants to 
the assistance of the villagers he was shot dead, leaving a large 
family to lament his loss. Scotchie and Whitten were at last cap- 
tured; the one hanged himself in gaol; the other was hanged in 
Goulburn. I bought sheep on the Murrumbidgee in April ; re- 
turned to Sydney, bought a dray and eight bullocks, with the view 
of taking my sheep to Port Phillip. Before getting to Berrima, a 
distance of 80 miles, six of my bullocks died from starvation; and, 
in consequence of thousands of sheep dying of catarrh, I changed 
my mind and left my sheep at Murrumbidgee. I bought cattle 

Letters from Victorian Piotieers. 235- 

and took them overland to Adelaide ; found two of the lower 
stations on the Murrumbidgee (only 70 miles below Port Phillip 
road) had been deserted for the want of feed ; and from there to 
the Adelaide territory appeared to me to be unavailable for any 
purpose. Mr. Eyre, late Lieut. -Governor of New Zealand, who 
preceded me a few months, was then of the same opinion. I have 
seen a portion of the same country since, and what was then a, 
sandy desert is now tolerably grassed, and the whole of the coun- 
try occupied. On travelling down the Murray and Murrumbidgee, 
I found the natives cunning and treacherous, like all other savages, 
and they would take advantage when parties were off their guard. 
Mr. Chisholm's party, from Yass, who followed me, had all their 
stock taken, and the whole party killed except one man. Mr. 
Snodgrass followed, and also lost a great many sheep by the 
natives. When I arrived in Adelaide, I found cattle had fallen 
from 20 to 7, at which price I had to dispose of mine for bills. 
I returned to Sydney by way of Hobart Town, and found the 
appearance of the country quite changed, a good deal of rain 
having fallen in the interval. I then started with my sheep (which 
I left on the Murrumbidgee) for Port Phillip, and arrived at the 
Loddon in May 1840, having then been sixteen months in the 
colonies. I found all the country north of Captain Hepburn and 
Mr. Coghill unoccupied, and took out a license for the country 
adjoining them. 

At that time there were a great many cattle and sheep on the 
road from Sydney, and six months afterwards all the country to- 
the north for 50 miles was taken up. I found the natives on the 
Loddon very quiet ; but some came doAvn from the Pyrenees and 
killed a Mr. Allan, and also Mr. Oliphant's hut-keeper. I sold my 
station on the Loddon, bought sheep on the Sydney side, and on 
my way to the westward found all the country occupied until I 
arrived at Mount William, where I formed a station in April 
1842. On my way to Mount William, I met Mr. Thomson, of 
Stevens and Thomson, who told me that, although he did not 
wish to intimidate me, he would at the same time assure me that 
I would lose every sheep by the natives at Mount William ; that 
he had been there for two months, and that he put two shepherds 
with double-barrelled guns to each flock to no purpose, and at 

23G Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

last was forced to leave. Having been always so lucky with the 
natives, I pushed on, and upon pitching my tent did all in my 
power to have some intercourse with the natives, so as to civilize 
them as soon as possible. It was weeks before I succeeded, as 
they were always on the look-out, and ran like deer. I at last 
came upon one on the plains, some distance from timber, and gave 
chase to him on horseback. When I pulled him, he could 
scarcely stand on his legs from fear ; but when I smiled, and 
showed that I wished to be on good terms with them, he 
gained courage and talked a little. A few days afterwards he 
brought some younger ones in sight of the tent, who could speak 
English better. I went to meet them, and gave them to under- 
stand that I wished to be friendly with them ; that if they did 
not steal, they should be at liberty to roam about as usual. They 
seemed quite delighted and pleased. I, at times, gave them a 
.little flour and mutton ; but it was some months afterwards before 
I would allow them to come nearer than 200 or 300 yards to the 
huts. I don't think I lost twenty sheep by them. In the same 
year, I bought a station on the Wannon, and, to my surprise, not 
a single native could be seen. I would come upon their camps 
and fires, but never got a sight of one of them. 

They were not allowed to come upon any station in that neigh- 
bourhood ; indeed, they were in a wilder state than any I had 
seen in the colonies, and at that time all my neighbours were 
losing sheep. Thinking it the best policy to civilize them as 
soon as possible, I took two from Mount William to the Wannon, 
who brought about a dozen to me. I told them the same that I 
told those at Mount William. A month or so afterwards there 
were about twenty assisting at sheep-washing. Mr. Riley, of 
Riley and Barker, hearing of it, immediately rode up to see 
if it wre correct, and told me that they were the first he had 
seen at a station in that district, and strongly advised me against 
encouraging them, as they were treacherous to their kindest 
benefactors. I pursued my own policy, thinking the sooner they 
were civilized, and could discriminate between right and wrong, 
the sooner they would become harmless to Europeans. 

I found it answer, and in a short time they were seen upon all 
the stations in that district. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 237 

Mr. Matthew Gibson (wiue merchant) was the first party who 
occupied country in the neighbourhood of Mount William. He 
pitched his tent in 1839 on that portion of the Hopkins known as 
McGill's station ; but, finding the water very bad, he moved on 
to the Glenelg. In 1840 Mr. Kirk took possession of the same 
country ; and in the same year, Mr. Wills, Capt. Briggs, and 
others formed stations about the same period. It is the general 
opinion that the country has improved much by being stocked, 
and I have no doubt it has to a certain extent, but I think it ia 
more the result of the change of seasons. In 1842, the Fiery 
Creek plains were very thinly grassed, and, for the want of water 
between Mount William and Fiery Creek, there was a large tract 
of country not occupied till 1846. Being in the habit during those 
four years of riding over it every month, I observed the sward of 
grass getting thicker every season, although there was not a hoof 
upon it. In 1841 the Fiery Creek was dry for 20 miles, the 
bed of the creek smoking as if on fire, which is the origin of the 
name. In 1842 I saw a flock of sheep feeding in the centre of 
Lake Bolac, and, two or three years ago, Mr. Patterson told me 
that it was 15 feet deep at the margin near his house. Major 
Mitchell's Lake Repose, Lake Linlithgow, and several other lakes 
I saw dry in 1842. It is the change of seasons, and not the 
stock, that has changed the appearance of the country. In 1842 
and 1843 water could not be had for the splitters, and now there 
are springs and creeks everywhere. 

I formed a station on the Adelaide territory, 40 miles from 
Guichen Bay, about the end of 1845. I found the habits, &c., of 
the natives there the same as in Port Phillip, but was surprised 
to find they could not swim ; and I believe, until lately, they 
never had an opportunity, as I am informed ten years ago they 
could only get water by digging for it. 

There is no river or creek between Lake Alexandrina on the 
Murray and the Glenelg. The country from that part of the 
Murray to Mount Gambler is the most barren, sterile country I 
have witnessed in all my travels. Sheep and cattle die within 
twenty miles of the coast. I had to remove cattle from a station 
there after losing about 500. The Police Magistrate, Guichen 
Bay, told me that it was impossible to keep goats for the supply 

238 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

of milk, as they all died. With regard to the capabilities of the 
different colonies, no doubt Port Phillip is the Eden of the whole. 
From Lake Colac to Mount Shadwell, Port Fairy, Mount Rouse, 
Wannon, with the junction of the Glenelg, considering the extent 
tind area, it is the greatest extent of rich country I ever witnessed 
within my recollection. Poor, heathy soil, near Newcastle, county 
of Northumberland, has been ploughed, drained, and manured, 
so as to raise good crops. On visiting the different provinces and 
districts, I was struck more with the different manners and cus- 
toms of the Europeans than the aborigines. In Adelaide, there 
appeared to be a spirit of keen Yankeeism ; in Sydney, the people 
seemed light, gay, and thoughtless ; the settlers on the Murrum- 
bidgee and Goulburn, the same ; and again, on the G-eelong side 
and Western District, they appeared thoughtful for the future 
industrious and persevering, willing to put their shoulder to the 
wheel and overcome all difficulties, and that at a time when they 
did not know how to raise 10 to pay their license. Indeed, I 
have been agreeably surprised to witness so many very young men 
-arrive in this colony possessing such perseverance, sobriety, and 
exemplary conduct. 

I have the honour to be, Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

His Excellency the Lieut. -Governor. 

No. 49. 

,, Lonsdale-street. 20th Oct. 1853. 


As far as my recollections will allow me to record some of the 
circumstances attending my early career and travels through this 
southern portion of our Australian possessions, and by so doing 
contribute to the fund of information you have already gathered 
through your own long experience and personal observation, it will 
afford me much pleasure. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 2 39 

My early initiation into bush life was as a Commissioner of 
Crown Lands for the Murray District in 1837, a portion of the 
colony at that time very thinly occupied by stations, though now 
forming one of our richest grazing districts. Provided with a 
good tent and camp equipage, a small supply of books and writing 
materials, a trusty Westly Richards with an ample supply of 
ammunition, a capital nag, and some fine kangaroo dogs, you may 
easily conceive that I looked forward to my expeditions with 
feelings of pleasure and excitement. My means of transport was 
a light cart with two draught horses, which, with a large tarpaulin, 
afforded an ample shelter for the men. 

The district allotted to me was from the left side of the Mur- 
rtimbidgee to the right bank of the Ovens River, forty miles on 
the Port Phillip side of the Murray. The country was at this 
time most beautiful miles of it untrodden by stock, and, indeed, 
unseen by Europeans. Every creek abounded with wild fowl, 
and the quail sprung from the long kangaroo grass which waved 
to the very flaps of the saddle. Seldom on my return to the 
encampment, after a long day's ride to some outrstations, but what 
I had to acknowledge the culinary talents of my tent servant, as 
the savoury steam of a stew or pastry would rise from the iron 
pot, simmering by a glorious fire in front of the tent. No dinner 
cooked by the most cunning artiste is equal to that one enjoys 
under such circumstances as those I describe, nor can anything 
equal the relish which is afforded by the quart-pot of tea, a 
delicacy I know you have yourself appreciated on some of your 
Excellency's flying expeditions. 

It has often been a source of regret to me that all the charms 
attending the traversing of a new country must give way to the 
march of civilization; the camp on the grassy sward is now 
superseded by the noisy road-side inn; the quart-pot of tea by the 
bottle of ale. All the quiet serenity of an Australian bush, as we 
have known it, has yielded to the demands of population ; and this, 
though a necessary change, is not the less to be regretted. I 
look back to those days as to some joyous scene of school-boy 

The seasons appear to me to have undergone a considerable 
change, and to have become both colder and more moist, for, though 

240 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

a fire was fully appreciated, the weather generally was mild and 
dry. My impression with regard to the increased rains is borne out 
by the fact that many tracts of country are now occupied by stock, 
which I have ridden over vainly seeking for water to relieve my 
distressed horse, and moisten my parched lips. I may particularly 
allude to the Billabong country, and to those plains and flat box 
country extending between the Edward and Murrumbidgee rivers. 
For miles and miles I have ridden over this monotonous, dreary 
flat, not a hill to be seen to raise the hope that some creek or water- 
hole might be at hand ; the eyes aching with the dazzling reflec- 
tion and mirage of the plains. 

Sheep are now occupying the whole of this country, the supply 
of water for the stations being obtained by sinking waterholes and 
throwing dams across the slight falls or declinations of the plain, 
which, though barely visible, yet here and there in the wet seasons 
become runs of water. Even this, however, affords a precarious 
supply, and the losses and sufferings of these settlers are very great. 
In the dry seasons, they frequently have to move on with their 
flocks towards some of the rivers for their absolute salvation, and, 
driven to become interlopers and marauders on others' runs, their 
existence is far from enviable ; their risk, too, of spreading or con- 
tracting contagious diseases among their flocks thus becomes very 

The heat is also here excessive, which, together with the 
general dryness of the atmosphere and pasturage, deteriorates the 
character of the wools. Notwithstanding, however, these draw- 
backs, it may safely be considered a fine pastoral district. 

The country to the south-east of the main Sydney road to Port 
Phillip rises towards the Australian Alps, to which snow-capped 
mountains we are indebted for the numerous streams and rivers 
flowing through the lower and (in summer) arid regions to the 
north and north-west, most of which unite with the Murray. 

The nearer we approach the mountains both the climate and 
character of the soil change. I have noticed that the Upper 
Murray and table lands of Omeo afford an abundant, but coarse, 
unuutritious grass ; the trees also assume a cold and wintry 
appearance, and the foliage becomes yet more sombre than the 
generality of Australian trees. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 241 

One circumstance I noticed as strange and difficult to account 
for. Though the climates on the Murray and Muirumbidgee rivers 
exactly assimilate, and the distance between them is inconsiderable 
about 130 miles the appearance of the two rivers differs 
materially. The banks of the Murrumbidgee are wooded with 
large swamp oak, as is also the case with its tributaries, the 
Lachlan, Boorowa, and Tumut rivers, &c., &c. On the latter 
these large oaks overhang the banks until they nearly meet, impart- 
ing a peculiar gloom to this rapid stream. On the Murray, the oak 
entirely disappears, being replaced by the bright wattle or acacia. 
The scent of its masses of blossom in the spring pervades the air, 
and adds to the pleasing effect this graceful tree has on the mind 
of the traveller, enhanced by the wild, sweet call of the bell-bird. 

Another peculiarity attending these rivers flowing to the north 
and north-west is that they abound in a fine fish, called the 
Murray cod. 1 In season, these fish are very rich, and afford the 
chief sustenance of the natives, who spear them from their canoes, 
at the prow of which they have a brilliant fire of pine, which attracts 
the fish at night, and entices them to their destruction. Strange 
to say that all the streams and rivers flowing to the south and 
south-west, though in many instances taking their source from the 
same mountains, are devoid of the river-cod, having only the 
blackfish, a peculiar kind of herring, and the eel, which run to a 
large size. 

About this time commenced the stream of emigration into' 
Port Phillip, and the main line of road became enlivened by the 
overland parties crowding one after another to the newly-opened 
and rich pasturages of the south. Numerous were the incidents, 
both by flood and field, which these adventurers met with. The 
rivers were all unbridged, and afforded no small obstacle to the 
overlander, taxing both his courage, enterprise, and invention to- 
overcome his difficulties. 

The danger of attack from the natives was not inconsiderable, 
and I need hardly call to your recollection the melancholy 
destruction of Mr. Faithfull's party, who were attacked near the 
Ovens River, several of the men being killed. I happened to meet 
one of the poor wretches who escaped, thanks to his speed of foot 

1 This cod is, I believe, really a perch. 


242 Letters from Victorian Flowers. 

and endurance, as he was pursued many miles by the merciless 
savages, and, though severely wounded, he ran forty miles, and 
at last dropped at my tent overcome by fatigue and terror. 

The natives were at all times treacherous to a degree, and the 
murders they committed were numerous. I admit that they some- 
times met with treatment from some of the whites sufficient to 
excite their enmity, but I cannot attribute their acts of murder to 
a spirit of retaliation, nor do I believe that any cruelty was evinced 
towards them by the Europeans until exasperated by their savage 
acts of treachery. The natives of Australia are devoid of any 
feeling of mercy or pity; no native of a foreign tribe would be 
safe for an hour if in the power of others of the same race. The 
most cold-blooded murder will excite no remorse ; the braining of 
a wretched lubra will only add to the heroic and indomitable 
character of the savage. 

I knew a fine young lad whom Dr. Martin had civilized ; he 
was a stockman, and a very intelligent lad. He accompanied a 
party with fat stock to Melbourne ; at Buninyong he fell in with 
a tribe of natives, and, in the act of giving them tobacco, was 
basely speared, and died in the greatest agony. His only offence 
was that he belonged to a strange tribe. I have seen a lad of 
twelve years old drive a spear through the body of an old man 
because he refused the loan of his pipe. The father of this pre- 
cocious youth submitted his head without a groan to three terrific 
blows from a nulla-nulla, inflicted by a relative of the old man's. 
This was in extenuation of his son's offence. Love to their 
offspring is the only softening feature in these savages, and that 
is but an animal propensity natural to the brute creation. 

Much is laid to the evil effects resulting from the intimacies 
known to exist between the shepherds and stockmen, and the 
native women. This encouraged a familiarity with the tribes, 
which revealed the defenceless state of the European, and they 
too often availed themselves of this knowledge ; but a sensitive- 
ness on the point of their women I much doubt, for the first 
overtures a savage makes in barter is the tender of his unfortunate 

That there are some instances of their becoming useful men I 
cannot deny, as we might instance some of poor Dana's black 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 243 

troopers, but they are rare indeed ; it is only under compul- 
sion that their natural disposition can be restrained. Poor "Mr. 
William," whom I am sure Your Excellency recollects, is now 
undergoing his sentence for a breach of the laws at the gold-fields; 
he is now at Pentridge Stockade, in the capacity of a servant to 
Mr. Barrow. In that capacity he is a useful, good creature, being 
a capital nurse and playmate for Barrow's children. Turn the 
poor fellow away, and he would soon be seen in the streets of 
Melbourne a drunken sot. 

I suppose the example of others had its effect with me, and, 
seized with an overland fit, I resigned my appointment and 
started for Bathurst, and thence with sheep and cattle to Adelaide. 
It would be uninteresting to give any detail of the expedition. I 
believe I was the first to run the Murrumbidgee down with stock, 
at least no trace of four-footed beast was to be seen as we 
approached the field of reeds forming the outlet of the Lachlan 
into the Murrumbidgee. Here I thought we should have been 
stopped. As far as the eye could reach was one bed of reeds 
about 15 feet high. The Lachlan here ceases to have the appear- 
ance of a river, and loses itself in this bed of reeds ; with the drays 
first, then the cattle, we managed to break down a track for the 
sheep, and, confident that there was no deep bed of a river to 
stop us, on we 'went, and three days' hard work saw us through 
the Lachlau swamps. 

I was among the most fortunate of the overlanders, having 
avoided any serious collision with the blacks. The country itself 
was monotonous to a degree ; the river runs through a nearly 
level country. The river-flats average about half a rnile wide 
on each side, and afford fine feed for the stock, and famous 
camping places at night. From these flats a bank rises to 
the plains, which extend for hundreds of miles. These plains, in 
some places, are thickly covered with a low polygonum scrub ; 
the soil is a species of whitish clay, formed into small hills and 
hollows like mole-hills. Some fine, silvery gra^s grows in these 
hollows, and the tops of the rises are utterly devoid of vegetation. 
The plains are sometimes intersected by a belt of Murray scrub, 
running down to the very river ; also, I met with some belts of 
pine forest, in which some very beautiful shrubs and flowers are 

244 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

to bo found. The whole of this country has, to my surprise, 
become now occupied, but I hear that the herbage has improved 
from being fed over, and the sheep seem to thrive on the various 
salsolaceous plants which abound. It still, however takes a vast 
extent of this kind of country to support any number of sheep. 

The gum-trees on the alluvial flats are magnificent, stately 
trees, and some of our encampments were singularly picturesque. 

As tor the Murray ever becoming an agricultural country, the 
idea is absurd. The produce which Sir Henry Young fancies will 
all be conveyed to Adelaide by steamers is a chimerical idea 
which never can be realized. 

The alluvial river-flats constitute the sole land in any way 
suitable to agriculture, and these are flooded during the spring 
and early part of summer by the melting of the snow on the 

There is hardly a settler on the Lower Murray who can even 
luxuriate in a vegetable. The weather during my expedition was 
most beautiful. We, of course, kept regular watches, and the bugle 
sounding the morning-watch at two o'clock was the signal for the 
camp to arouse; breakfast was then cooked, drays loaded, bullocks 
yoked, and the stock moved off. We then travelled on, but seldom 
could do much after ten o'clock in the morning, when the heat 
would become too intense. The sheep would cluster in knots, 
seeking any shelter from the intense rays of the sun. We gene- 
rally managed to make one of the bends of the river at this time, 
and there lay by until four or five o'clock, when we would accom- 
plish another three or four miles of our journey. The extra- 
ordinary number of birds which collect on the river afforded 
abundant sport, as well as capital dinners. It appears to be now 
indisputably settled that the interior of this country is chiefly 
characterized by barren scrubs and sterile sandhills, forming as it 
were a basin, and yet the flights of birds all from the north would 
lead one to suppose that there must be some oasis in that desert 
tract extending to Sir Thomas Mitchell's discoveries on the Vic- 
toria River, on which the migratory feathered-race might rest on 
their weary flight. 

The air would sometimes absolutely resound with the chatter 
of birds, the lagoons swarming with ducks and snipe ; and then the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 245 

luxury of a plunge into the fresh stream after a hard day's work, 
with the thermometer at 110 Fahrenheit, cannot be exceeded. 

It is curious to observe the skill shown by the natives in their 
pursuit of game. They catch vast numbers of ducks in an ingeni- 
ous manner. The lagoons run for some length, narrowing at the 
end, where the trees close in; two or three blacks plant themselves 
near this narrow pass, having extended a large net from tree to tree; 
the others then proceed to the top of the lagoon, driving the ducks 
before them. As they fly by the ambuscade, they throw their 
boomerangs whizzing over the heads of the birds, which, dreading 
that their enemy, the hawk, is sweeping at them, make a dash 
under the trees, strike the net, and fall as if shot, when the natives 
dash in after them. I imagine it is a panic that seizes the poor 
birds, for I have seen a hundred caught by such means. 

We encountered some difficulty in crossing our stock and drays 
over the Rufns and Darling, but none which, with a good heart, 
we did not overcome ; indeed, such difficulties added zest to our 

At the north-west bend of the Murray, the river takes a sweep 
to the south into Lake Alexandrina. From this point I left our 
party to strike across the scrub into Adelaide, or rather into the 
settled parts of the colony. We had run short of flour and sugar, 
and my object was to cut through the scrub with a light horse- 
cart and bring out supplies for the party, as well as ascertain the 
best route in for the stock to take. Tracks of former parties were 
indistinct, and at the point I struck in we noticed for some dis- 
tance a single cart- track going the direction I wished to follow. 
This, however, we soon lost, and I discovered that we had fear- 
fully miscalculated the width of the scrub, or its density at the 
point I entered. Since then, poor young Bryant perished in the 
same scrub whilst on an expedition with Colonel Gawler, the then 
Governor of South Australia. It appeared the Governor wished 
to penetrate to some hills north, but finding the scrub too dense, 
and no water to be had, he hastened back to the river, after 
having had to kill one of the horses. The party, somehow, sepa- 
rated in pushing for the river. It was a struggle for life, as 
another day's sun would have been fatal. Poor Bryant must have 
lost his presence of mind, for his tracks were found running the 

24G Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

scrub down parallel to the river, but no traces of the poor fellow 
could ever be made out ; he must have perished a miserable 

To return to my own misadventures. My party consisted. of 
two men and a native of New South Wales. For two days we 
cut through the scrub, with little appearance of getting out or of 
finding water. 

The labour was excessive, and the men were improvident with 
our limited supply of water. The third day saw us without any; 
still I was determined to push on to the hills, knowing that by 
keeping firm in the one direction I must succeed. The heat was 
terrific, and the second day told fearfully upon us. It was doubtful 
whether we could have made back to the river; and the hills, tlie 
object of our aim, and hopes of water I saw before us. So still 
we plunged on, the poor horses being in a most pitiable condition. 
The third day we crossed the hills, but not a sup of water to be 
found in the porous granite ranges. 

We camped at three o'clock, the men being utterly prostrated, 
and the horses in a dying state. The plains of Adelaide were 
before us. I was sure water must be near ; so leaving the men a 
compass, with directions that should I not return by morning they 
should kill one of the horses and moisten their mouths with its 
blood, and then push on in the same course, I started, or I may 
say, tottered on for about two miles, when overcome I sunk at 
the foot of a tree. I never shall forget my sensations at that 
time. I felt the miserable death awaiting nis. I then thought 
of home, and that I was in some richly-carpeted drawiug-roorn r 
and I struggled against insanity. 

When I recovered to some extent it was a bright, fresh night. 
I sat up endeavouring to collect my senses, when I heard a flight 
of birds overhead and the unmistakable cry of the wood-duck. 
With renewed energy I pushed on, and within a hundred yards 
of me was the creek. An hour served sufficiently to restore me, 
and, soaking my woollen shirt in the water, I retraced my steps 
to the cart. We were saved, but it was touch and go. One of 
the men never recovered it, and the last time I saw him he was nu 
idiot in Adelaide. We were but three days without water, but it 
was summer, and we were working with a blazing sun overhead. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 247 

My residence since 1844 has been at Mount Gam bier, about 
half-way between Melbourne and Adelaide. I there formed a 
station, and occupied a most splendid portion of country. I just 
missed Your Excellency when you were at the Mount, being then 
on the point of taking up the country adjacent to the Mount. 

I look at this portion of the colony decidedly as the finest I 
have ever seen, and it would be most interesting to a geologist. 

When I first occupied it, surface water was very scarce, being 
found only in a few tea-tree springs, or in the craters of the extinct 
volcanoes. I, however, subsequently discovered that the whole 
country was cavernous, and that absolute streams and rivers were 
flowing within, in some places, a few feet of the surface. The 
rock is generally limestone, which crops from the surface in all 
directions ; indeed, in some places, there are but a few inches of 
soil above the mass of limestone. 

Our early occupation of Mount Gambler was marked with 
perhaps more of the difficulties and troubles generally attending a 
settler's life. When I took up the station I was again beginning 
the world, with little more than dear-bought experience. The 
ruinous years of 1842 and 1843 had involved me in the, I may 
nearly say, universal crash, thanks to the improvidence which I 
believe is as characteristic of the early squatters as of the British 
sailor, as also to the simplicity with which so many of us scribbled 
our autographs to pieces of paper for the relief of pretended 
friends, whom we found too willing to shuffle their own difficulties 
on the shoulders of their more generous dupes. There is nothing 
of which a young man, commencing his career in the colonies, 
should be more earnestly warned against than this same yielding 
to the impulse of a good nature. 

When I fixed on the site of my new homestead I had not a 
shilling in the world ; unfortunately, the boot was very much on 
the other leg, but thanks to the success attending sheep-farming 
I have outlived my difficulties. The natives were very inimical 
when we first arrived, and, to add to my difficulties, all our men 
with the exception of one deserted us. I had, however, a trusty 
friend in poor Edward White, whose daring energy of character 
has been fully tested in his expeditious in the Survey Department, 
to which I am sure Your Excellency will fully testify. Another 

248 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

young friend, Mr. Brodribb, also bravely adhered to my fortunes. 
There were but four of us, but we managed to lamb the sheep 
down and to build a bark shed for shearing. With little assistance, 
we sheared the flocks, and managed, I can hardly say how, to turn 
the wool into supplies for the following year. 

Our neighbour, Mr. Leake, suffered many losses from the 
natives, some thousands I believe, but we escaped any attack, 
which I attribute to the astonishment they evinced at seeing the 
effects of a good rifle aimed by a correct eye, for not a crow 
would dare to caw on the highest tree near our camp but a rifle 
ball reached him, or a kangaroo bound through the forest within 
shot but the sharp ring of the rifle saw him stretched on the 
sward. I have always thought this gained us their respect. 
They gave me the name of a chief who had fallen in battle, and 
affirmed that I had again come among them as a white fellow. 
We gained their respect, but it was through fear, and subsequently 
their confidence through kindness. 

Many of them have since become useful shepherds, and been 
of the utmost service to me, but it is difficult to have fat sheep 
where natives shepherd them, for they are too indolent even for 
that service. 

The whole of this country is volcanic, but of a different charac- 
ter to that of Mount Napier and the Belfast District, where the 
rivers of lava can be followed for miles, now having the appear- 
ance of rivers of huge rocks of trap, cracked and rent by time and 
heat. At Mount Gambier there is little rock, save the limestone, 
and the eruptions of the expired volcanoes of the Gambier, 
Schanck and others are only marked by a deposit of scoriae and 
ashes. The bottoms of the craters are now lakes of unfathomable 
depth, the waters of which, on a cloudy day, assume an inky dark- 
ness, which gives a degree of solemnity to the scenery. 

There is also a singular feature in the country. There are 
many holes and caves ; the caves appear endless, and it requires 
some degree of nerve to head an exploring expedition in these 
subterranean territories. Some of them are very beautiful when 
lit up by torchlight ; long, pendulous stalactites hang from the 
ceiling or roof of the cavern, connecting themselves with the 
floor, and the continuous dripping of the water and deposit of the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 249 

sediment has formed itself into the most grotesque shapes ; niches 
and seats appear of this glittering white marble, which a not very 
imaginative mind might conceive to be the seats of the presiding 
genius and his attendant satellites. I have never discovered any 
petrifactions in these caverns, but I thought once to have discovered 
something that would have handed down my name to posterity. 
In one of these niches I observed the figure of a man, bent as in 
an attitude of thought, his elbows resting on his knees. I ap- 
proached and felt this object, when I found it to be the body of a 
man as I supposed petrified. Anxiously I examined it, and took 
an arm and hand, which were loose, to the open air for closer inspec- 
tion. I then found that it had more the appearance of a mummy, 
the skin having become hard and dry, and containing nothing but 
dust. It however merited closer inspection, but I had some miles 
to ride, and determined to defer such examination to another time. 
Since then I have never been near the spot. 

The holes which I have before alluded to are perfectly per- 
pendicular, and vary in size. Some go down perpendicular, as if 
bored by a huge auger, some 200 feet ; at the bottom is water, 
which has all the appearance of being bottomless. 

The country between the Mount .and Adelaide is very flat, 
having large gum forests, well grassed, and extensive swamps and 
plains. It has evidently been recently flooded by the sea, there 
being large beds of oysters exposed where any large tree has been 
blown down and torn up the soil. The surface is also covered 
with oyster shells and other deposits of the ocean. To the north 
the country becomes arid, and barren of any vegetation save the 
eternal Murray scrub. 

I have travelled much through the Western country, ascended 
the crater (or rather descended it) of Mount Eeles ; but of all 
that country you are equally well informed with myself. 

Of the Plenty, which you ask me to mention, I have no pleas- 
ing reminiscences. I only know at that time it consisted of a 
district of cattle stealers. The only pleasing recollection is that 
of a certain trip I took with Your Excellency, when certainly 
our bush experience did not ensure us a perfect knowledge of our 
locale. I fully believe you attribute our eccentric course to my 
guiding, but you will allow, and I have always believed, you are 

250 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

fonder of leading than being led. Thus, I take no credit for our 
short-cuts on that occasion. 

I fear I have spun this out much longer than your patience 
will allow, but if any portion will afford matter worth noting I 
shall be glad. With a sincere hope that I may have the pleasure 
of talking over Australian life with you, happily united to your 
family, in brave old England, 

Believe me, 

My dear Mr. La Trobe, 

Yours most sincerely, 

E. P. S. STURT. 
To C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

No. 50. 
SlR March 20th 1854. 

I would have replied long before this to your circular of date 
27th July last, but waited expecting to find my journal, which was 
lent to Miss Drysdale and cannot be found, which will account 
for the meagre reply I now make. 

1. In September 1835 I shipped per Norval, Capt. Coltish, the 
first cattle for Port Phillip. 

2. In March 1836 1 landed at Melbourne with my family. 
There being no constituted authority, I was requested to act as a 
general arbitrator. I did so by common consent, my tent being 
the police office. Many felt a pride in showing an example in 
upholding order, which was done without much trouble. The 
people were very quiet and attended every Sunday morning at my 
tent for public worship, where I read the Church of England 

3. In April 1836 I built, by subscription, a house for a church 
and school the old weatherboard lately removed from St. James's. 

4. The first clergyman who visited us was the Rev. Jos. Orton, 
Wesleyan, and afterwards the Revs. Messrs. Clow, Forbes, Grylls, 
and Waterfield. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 251 

5. In May 183G Mr. Batman arrived with his family. 

6. From that time we had weekly arrivals with stock from 
Van Diemen's Laud, and many stations were taken up near Mel- 

7. In July 183G we took the first census, numbering 149. 

8. In December 1830, the first herd of cattle was brought 
from Sydney by Mr. Juo. Gardiner and Capt. Hepburn. 


9. In May 1836 I landed my sheep at Point Henry, and 
occupied the present township of Geelong as a sheep station, and 
Indented Head as a cattle station for Capt. Swanston. Messrs. 
Cowie and Stead and myself had the whole Western district to 
ourselves for eighteen months, parties being all afraid of the 
blacks. We were afterwards joined by Roadknight, Darke, Der- 
went Company, Russell, Anderson, Brown, Read, McLeod, 
Steiglitz, Sutherland, Murray, Morris, Lloyd, Ware, Learmonth, 
Armytage, Raven, Pettett, Francis, Bates, and others. 

10. In 1837 I built the present house of Kardinia, which I 
called after the aboriginal word for " sunrise." I built also a house 
for the Derwent Company, occupied afterwards by Mr. Fisher. 

11. In 1838 Mr. Strachan built the first store in Geelong; 
he was followed by Messrs. Rucker and Champion. 


12. On my first journeys into the country I was very much 
surprised to find so few natives, and thought they were keeping 
out of the way. During our first visit to Buninyong we did not 
see one, and on our first journey to the west, when we discovered 
Colac and Korangamite, we saw about twenty atPirron Yalloak, 
who fled on seeing us. On better acquaintance I found their num- 
ber really very small. All within 100 miles had visited us. 

13. In December 1836 I was at great pains to muster all that 
were in the Geelong district, and gave each a blanket ; they were 
Buckley's tribe, and he assured me I had mustered the whole of 
them, amounting to only 279. They were always friendly ; I was 
well known amongst them, and wherever I went they received me 
kindly. But, alas ! the decrease has been fearful, chiefly from 
drinking, and exposure to all weathers bringing on pulmonary 

252 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

complaints. Since their connexion with the whites there has been 
little increase. When I first numbered them they had several 
children amongst them, but they decreased every year, and now in 
this tribe we have only 34 adults and only two children under five 
years. The men now living were all children when I arrived, and 
are beginning to look old, so that in ten years more there will not 
be one alive. 

Every attempt to civilize them has signally failed. I have had 
several in my family for years, and taught them to read and go to 
church with the family ; but after a time the other youths would 
threaten them and carry them off, when they again got fond of a 
savage life. I am convinced that no plan, except one based on 
entire isolation, will succeed with these poor degraded people. 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 

Addenda. The Marrack (scrubby) Hills near Cape Otway 
form fifty miles by ten of dense scrub, exactly like the country you 
saw at Wilson's Promontory, with immense trees towering to the 
height of 80 and 120 feet, and fern trees of 20 feet in the gullies, 
a rich black soil, and streams of water running into the sea every 
six or seven miles. 



2. Mr. Simpson was named by the persons interested in the 
formation of a settlement at Port Phillip, as arbitrator, &c. Dr. 
Thomson and another were, I understand, afterwards named to 
assist him, somewhat in the quality of assessors. Dr. Thomson may 
possibly, during the absence of Mr. Simpson in Van Diemen's 
Land, have acted as arbitrator in some cases. As to the state of 
order among the people, I have no reason to doubt but that they 
were as peaceable as could reasonably be expected under the cir- 
cumstances in which they were placed, but I know that repeated 
representations were made to the Sydney Government to the 
contrary, of so strong a nature, that Sir Richard Bourke thought 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 253 

there was a probability of some resistance beiug offered to his 
establishing authority in the place, and directed me to apply to 
Captain Hobson for the marines of his ship, should I find the 
detachment of troops I took with me insufficient. This, however, 
was perfectly useless; the people were quite quiet; the only indi- 
cation to the contrary was the simple circumstance of the printed 
proclamations which I had caused to be posted up being torn down. 
One of the first persons who made himself known to me was Dr. 
Thomson, who, with a formidable brace of pistols in his belt, told 
me he was very glad I had arrived, as they were in a most lawless- 
state, and always in dread of being assaulted or something to that 
effect. Dr. Thomson's appointment by the Port Phillip people, 
was that of medical officer, and I think catechist. In the former 
capacity, he was afterwards for a short time in the employment of 
the Government. I dare say he performed the church service as 
he states, but on my arrival I did not understand it was performed. 
Mr. James Smith was the first I was aware of who read the service 
regularly on Sundays, for such of the people as chose to attend. 

3. When I arrived in September this building was not near 
finished. I was given to understand that it was erected by general 
subscription, for Church of England service, and was handed over 
to me for this purpose. I afterwards collected further subscriptions 
to finish it, in the course of which I had some little altercation 
with Dr. Thomson, who was supposed to be unconnected with it, 
but he claimed to be a member of the church. 

4. The Rev. Mr. Orton was here after I arrived, as a passing 
visitor. I was not aware that he had been here previously. Mr. 
Waterfield, an Independent minister, was the first clergyman who 
arrived to perform service permanently. Mr. Naylor had paid the 
settlement a visit, and had performed service and some of the 
rites of the Church of England. 

8. It was Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Joseph Hawdon who brought 
over the first herd of cattle from Sydney. 

12. This is a very uncertain and indefinite statement, and 
appears in some measure to be contradicted by the next paragraph, 
where a tribe belonging to a small tract of country is represented' 
to be 279, and which I can say is correct from what I saw of 
the other tribes at that time. 

254 Letters from Victorian Pioneers 

No. 51. 

DEAR SIR Busby Park, 25th August 1853. 

In answer to Your Excellency's letter of the 29th July, and to a 
note from Mr. Tyers of the 14th inst., requesting me to give, with 
the least possible delay, an account of the discovery of Gippslaud ; 
dates, with events connected with it ; the particulars of Count 
Strzelecki's visit, &c., &c., I beg to forward the accompanying 
memorandum, and trust that the information contained in it will 
answer the purpose required ; but should you require anything 
further, I shall be happy to give a more detailed account. 

I remain, dear Sir, 
Your Excellency's most obedient servant, 


His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq. 


Start from Maneroo. On the 20th of May 1839,1 left Curra- 
wang, a station of James McFarlane, Esq., J.P., of the Maneroo 
district, having heard from the natives of that district that a fine 
country existed near the sea-coast, to the south-west of Maneroo. 

Accompanied by one Black only. I was accompanied in my 
expedition by Jemmy Gibber, the chief of the Maneroo tribe. 
After five days' journey towards the south-west, I obtained a 
view of the sea from the top of a mountain, near a hill known 
as the Haystack, in the Buchan district, and also of the low 
country towards Wilson's Promontory. 

On the sixth day after leaving Currawang the blackfellow who 
accompanied me became so frightened of the Warrigals, or wild 
blacks, that he tried to leave me, and refused to proceed any 
further towards the new country. We pressed on until the evening, 
when Ave camped, and about twelve o'clock at night I woke up, 
and found Jemmy Gibber in the act of raising his waddy or club 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. -'>'> 

to strike me, as he fancied that, if ho succeeded in killing me, ho 
would then be able to get back to Maneroo. I presented a pistol 
at him, arid he begged me not to shoot him, and excused himself 
by saying that he had dreamt that another blackfellow was taking 
away his gin, and that he did not mean to kill me. 

Omeo. Next morning we started for Omeo, where we arrived 
after four days' journey over very broken country. There were 
three settlers at Omeo at this time, viz., Fender, McFarlane, 
and Hyland. 

Numbla-Munjee. On the 16th September 1839 I formed a 
cattle station at a place called Numbla-Munjee, on the River 
Tambo, 50 miles to the south of Omeo, for Lachlan Macalister, 
Esq., J.P. A Mr. Buckley had, previous to my arrival here, 
formed a station ten miles higher up the River Tambo from 

On the 26th of December 1839 I formed a party, consisting 
of Mr. Cameron, Mr. Matthew Macalister, Edward Bath, a stock- 
man, and myself, with the view of proceeding towards and explor- 
ing the low country I had formerly obtained a view of from the 
mountain in the Buchan district alluded to in my first trip from 
Maneroo. After travelling for three days over a hilly and broken 
country, one of our horses met with a serious accident, tumbling 
down the side of one of the steep ranges, and staked itself in four 
or five places. In consequence of this accident we were compelled 
to return to Numbla-Munjee. 

On the llth of January 1840, the same party as before, with 
the addition of two Omeo blacks Cobbon Johnny and Boy 
Friday started once more with the same object in view, namely, 
that of reaching the new country to the south-west, and, if pos- 
sible, to penetrate as far as Corner Inlet, where I was led to 
believe there existed an excellent harbour. 

Meet with the Aborigines. After a fearful journey of four 
days, over some of the worst description of country I ever saw, 
we succeeded in crossing the coast range leading down into the 
IOAV country. This day we were met by a tribe of the wild blacks 
who came up quite close to us, and staved at us while on horse- 
back, but the moment I dismounted they commenced yelling out, 
and took to their heels, running away as fast as possible; and 

25G Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

from the astonishment displayed at the circumstance of my dis- 
mounting from the horse, I fancied they took both man and horse 
to constitute one animal. 

Lake Victoria. On Wednesday, the 15th of January, our little 
party encamped on the River Tambo, running towards the sea in a 
south-easterly direction. On the morning of the 16th we started 
down the Tambo, in order, if possible, to get a sight of a lake we 
had previously seen when descending the ranges to the low country 
and which I was certain must be in our immediate vicinity. The 
country passed through to-day consisted of open forest, well 
grassed, the timber consisting chiefly of red and white gum, box, 
he- and she-oak, and occasionally wattle. At six p.m. we made 
the lake, to which I gave the name of Lake Victoria. From the 
appearance of this beautiful sheet of water, I should say that it 
is fully 20 miles in length and about 8 miles in width. On the 
north side of this lake the country consists of beautiful open 
forest, and the grass was up to our stirrup-irons as we rode along, 
and was absolutely swarming with kangaroos and emus. The 
lake was covered with wild ducks, swans, and pelicans. We used 
some of the lake water for tea, but found it quite brackish. We 
remained on the margin of the lake all night. The River Tambo 
was about one mile north-east of our camp. The River Tambo, 
where we first made it, appears to be very deep and from 20 
to 30 yards wide. The water is brackish for the distance of 
about five miles from its mouth, where it empties itself into Lake 

Nicholson River. On the 17th January, started from the camp, 
and proceeded in a south-westerly direction. At ten a.m. came 
upon another river, to which I gave the name of the Nicholson, 
after Dr. Nicholson, of Sydney. This river seemed to be quite as 
large as the Tambo, and as deep. Finding we were not able to 
cross it in the low country, we made for the ranges, where, after 
encountering great diificulties, we succeeded in crossing it but 
not until sun-down high up in the ranges, and encamped for the 
night. This evening we found that, from the great heat of the 
weather, our small supply of meat had been quite destroyed. We 
were, however, fortunate enough to obtain some wild ducks, upon 
which we made an excellent supper. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 257 

Hirer Mitchell 18th January. Started again upon our usual 
course (south-west), and, after travelling about seven miles, came 
upon a large river, which I named the Mitchell, after Sir 
Thomas Mitchell, Surveyor-General of New South Wales. 

Clifton's Morass. We followed this river up until we came 
to a large morass, to which I gave the name of Clifton's Morass, 
from the circumstance of my having nearly lost in it, from its 
boggy nature, my favourite horse Clifton. 

General View of Country from a Hill. Having crossed this 
morass, we again proceeded on our journey for three miles, when 
we came once more upon the Mitchell River higher up, and 
encamped for the night, the country improving at every step. In 
the evening I ascended a hill near the camp, from the top of 
which I obtained a good view of the low country still before us, 
of the high mountains to the north-west, and the lakes stretching 
towards the sea-coast in a south and south-easterly direction ; 
and, from the general view of the country as I then stood, it put 
me more in mind of the scenery of Scotland than any other country 
I had hitherto seen, and therefore I named it at the moment 
" Caledonia Australia." 

On the morning of the 1 9th January we crossed the Mitchell, 
and proceeded in a south- south-west course, through fine open 
forest of she-oak and red and white gum, for about sixteen miles, 
and encamped upon a chain of ponds in the evening. 

20th January. We proceeded in a south-west course, and at 
ten a.m. came upon the border of a large lake, which I believed 
to be a continuation of the same lake we had been previously 
encamped upon. 

The Aborigines. While at dinner on the banks of the lake 
a tribe of blacks were walking quietly up to where we were 
encamped, but as soon as they saw us on horseback they left 
their rugs and spears and ran away. They never would make 
friends with us upon any occasion. 

The River Avon. 21st January. Started upon our usual 
course (south-west), and, after travelling about four miles, came 
upon a river flowing through a fine country of fine, open forest, with 
high banks, to which I gave the name of the Avon. We followed 
this river up all day, and crossed it about twenty miles from the foot 

258 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

of the mountains. It appears to be a mountain stream, generally 
not very deep, and runs over a bed of shingle. The country 
around and beyond the place where we crossed the Avon consists 
of beautiful, rich, open plains, and appeared, as far as I could judge 
at the time, to extend as far as the mountains. We encamped 
upon these plains for the night. From our encampment we had 
a splendid view of the mountains, the highest of which I named 
Mount Wellington, and also I named several others, which appear 
in the Government maps (published) of Gippsland. 

22nd January. Left the encampment on the plains, and pro- 
ceeded on our usual course of south-west, and travelled over a 
beautiful country, consisting of fine, open plains, intersected by 
occasional narrow belts of open forest, extending as far as the lakes 
to the eastward and stretching away west and north-west as far 
as the foot of the mountains. 

Macalister River. After travelling about ten miles we encamped 
in the evening on a large stream, which I named the Macalister. 
This river appears deep and rapid, and is about 40 yards wide. 
Here we saw an immense number of fires of the natives. 

23rd January. Started early in the morning, and tried to cross 
the river, but could not succeed, and followed the River Macalister 
down to its junction with another very large river called the La 
Trobe, which river is bounded on both sides by large morasses. 

Meet with Aborigines. In the morass to north-east of the 
river we saw some 100 natives, who, upon our approach, burnt 
their camps and took to the scrub. We managed to overtake 
one old man that could not walk, to whom I gave a knife and a 
pair of trousers, and endeavoured by every means in our power to 
open a communication with the other blacks, but without success. 
It was amusing to see the old man. After having shaken hands 
with us all, he thought it necessary to go through the same form 
with the horses, and shook the bridles very heartily. The only 
ornaments he wore were three hands of men and women, beautifully 
dried and preserved. We were busy all the evening endeavouring 
to cut a bark canoe, but did not succeed. 

On the morning of the 24th January, the provisions having 
become very short, and as some of the party were unwilling to 
prosecute the journey upon small allowance, I determined upon 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 259 

returning to the station and bringing down stock to the district. 
We then returned to Numbla-Muujee, which place we made in 
seven days from the 24th, and were the last two days without any 
provisions at all. 

I may add that I was the first person who discovered Gipps- 
land, and when I started to explore that district I had no guide 
but my pocket compass and a chart of Captain Flinders. We had 
not even a tent, but used to camp out and make rough gunyahs 
wherever we remained for the night. 

On the 27th March 1840, Count Strzelecki and party left our 
station at Numbla-Munjee for Caledonia Australis. He was supplied 
with some provisions and a camp kettle, and Mr. Matthew 
Macalister, who was one of my party in January of the same year, 
accompanied them one day's journey, and, after explaining the 
situation and nature of the country about the different crossing- 
places, left them upon my tracks on the coast range leading to 
Gippsland, and which tracks Charley, the Sydney blackfellow, 
who accompanied Count Strzelecki, said he could easily follow. 

On my return to Numbla-Munjee on the 31st January, after 
having discovered the country of Gippsland as far as the La Trobe 
River, I proceeded immediately to Maneroo, and reported my 
discovery to Mr. Macalister, who did not publish my report at the 
time. I had also written another letter to a friend of mine in 
Sydney, containing a description of my expedition; at the same 
time I wrote to Mr. Macalister, but it unfortunately miscarried. 
In October 1840 I arrived in Gippsland with 500 head of cattle, 
and formed a station on the Avon River, after having been six 
weeks engaged in clearing a road over the mountains. 

After four attempts I succeeded in discovering the present 
shipping place at Port Albert, and marked a road from thence to 
Numbla-Munjee, a distance of 130 miles. 

After having brought stock into the district, and formed the sta- 
tion in about the month of November 1840, the aborigines attacked 
the station, drove the men from the hut, and took everything 
from them, compelling them to retreat back upon Numbla-Muujee. 

On the 22nd December 1840, I again came down and took 
possession of the station, when the natives made a second attack. 


260 Letters from Victorian Pioneers, 

No. 52. 

Mr DEAR SIR, Portland, 16th January 1854. 

I have allowed jour circular of the 27th July last to remain 
much longer unanswered than I intended, but concluding that the 
information you required at my hands would be in sufficient time 
if it reached you at any time previous to your departure, I have 
put it off from time to time, I am afraid at the expense of taxing 
your good opinion of me. I fear you will not consider the very 
short narrative herewith forwarded so full as you expected at my 
hands. I am, however, such a very indifferent hand at description, 
that I trust you will find what I have written answer your pur- 
pose. Accompanying my narrative, I beg to hand to you a copy 
of a statement l prepared by my brother William, when laying our 
claims for compensation before the Home Government. I do not 
see that it will interest you, but it bears out my account of the 
early settlement of this part of the colony. The difficulties and 
trials of early settling are, perhaps, better known to myself and two 
other members of our family than to any other individual in the 
colony. I have not touched upon any description of the country 
either at Mount Gambier, or Wannon, and Glenelg, simply because 
from your knowledge of these parts you are so much more able to 
do so than myself. I cannot, however, ever forget the pleasant 
rides that I. have had the honour of accompanying you on, on 
several occasions, over a great deal of the above-named country, and 
I trust I may live to have an opportunity of doing so again in some 
other part of the Avorld, as it is my intention (if spared) to visit 
the old country next year, and I am now making my arrangements 
accordingly. As another magistrate will be required here, and a 
friend of my own, Mr. Learmonth, of Ettrick, near Portland, is 
about to join me in carrying on my business here, I hope you will 
not consider that I am taking too great a liberty in asking you to 
put him in the Commission of the Peace, as, having been some 
years a magistrate in Van Diemen'a Land, he is in every way 
qualified for such an appointment ; and again, in begging your 

1 See page 265. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 2G1 

kind re-consideration of Dr. Hallett's case, for I really consider 
him very harshly used by the two individuals who sat with me at 
the hearing of his case, both of whom had prejudged the case 
before it came on for hearing. But for my illness, my report 
would have beeu decidedly in his favour, for the only point 
on which any evidence was given directly rebutted the charge 
made by Mr. Mai pas, that Dr. Hallett returned his own servant 
as Government office-keeper. There was no evidence whatever 
to bear out any other charge, but there is evidence now to prove 
that Mr. Blair wished the man to bear out Mrs. Malpas's state- 
ment. But for the death of the unfortunate lady, the case would 
have been brought forward again. I am sorry to trouble you upon 
such a subject at a time when I am sure you must be very much 
worried, but I feel it my duty to state to you my opinion in 
this case. 

Mrs. Henty unites with me in very kind remembrances to you, 
and may I beg you will convey the same to Mrs. La Trobe, whom 
I trust you will soon meet in perfect health. With every good 
wish for such a speedy consummation, and your future welfare and 
happiness here and hereafter, believe me to remain, 

Your sincere friend and admirer, 

His Excellency C. J. La Trobe, Esq., &c. 

1833. The Henty family residing in Launceston, Van 
Diemen's Land, being interested in a whaling company, whose 
operations were carried on along the coast from Portland Bay to 
Port Fairy, Edward Henty, accompanied by my father, visited 
Portland Bay during this year, and, finding the country well- 
grassed and apparently very well adapted for grazing purposes, 
it was determined by the family upon their return to Launceston 
to send over stock and other necessaries for an establishment at 
Portland Bay forthwith; and accordingly Edward Henty accom- 
panied it as manager, and, after a most boisterous passage of four 
weeks, during which several of the stock died, he reached Port- 
land Bay (1834), and fixed his habitation on Avhat is now block 
No. 4 in the township of Portland, and now occupied by me. 

262 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

My father at this time applied to the Home Government for 
permission to exchange some portion of our large grant of land at 
Swan River for a smaller portion here, which, however, was refused; 
but what we considered a tacit permission was given for us to 
occupy and to claim such lands as we might improve by fencing 
or cultivation. Our subsequent operations bear out that we 
depended upon this concession; the sequel, however, shows that we 
were mistaken. 

1834. In December of this year my brother Frank joined 
the party at Portland, bringing over more stock and servants. 

1835. Early in the following year it was necessary for F. 
Henty to return to Van Diemen's Land. On his return to Port- 
land in October of this year, the small sloop in which he was a 
passenger called on her way at Indented Head, where they found 
Batman's party waiting an opportunity to get further up the Bay 
of Port Phillip. He took advantage of this opportunity, and pro- 
ceeded with the party up the Yarra Yarra, when the party camped 
for the first time on the present town-site of Melbourne. After 
remaining there for a fortnight, he proceeded on his voyage, and 
reached Portland again in November 1835. 

At this time the writer was residing at Swan River, to which 
colony he had emigrated from England as one of the pioneers of that 
colony at its earliest settlement in October 1829. Learning from my 
brothers at Portland that they had taken up their location there, and 
being urged by them to join them, I at once determined on doing 
so, and in order to effect this I purchased a vessel of sixty ton a 
called the Sally Ann, and embarked Avith my wife and servants,and 
reached Portland in June 1836. The vessel was afterwards em- 
ployed as a tender upon the party, running regularly between Port- 
land and Launceston. At this time we were entirely dependent 
upon ourselves, both for supplies from Van Diemen's Land and for 
protection against the natives and the many runaway prisoners 
who were at large at and around the whaling establishment. 

1836. It was in August of this year that a portion of Major 
Mitchell's party, headed by himself, visited our establishment, 
when to his astonishment he found our party comfortably settled 
(having, as he expressed himself, the only glass windows to our 
house that he had seen since he left the boundary of New South 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 2G3 

Wales). Not being aware of any settlement at this place, he 
supposed that we were a party of bushrangers or runaways from 
Van Diemen's Land, and, in approaching us, he took the precaution 
to have his men ranged in order, with their arms ready for action. 
This led us to suppose that his party was what he supposed ours 
to be, and we were consequently as cautious before holding any 
intercourse with him. 

From Major Mitchell we learnt that the country about 50 
miles north was much more suitable for grazing purposes than 
where our stock was located, and as our sheep had accumulated 
to several thousands it was considered advisable to push into the 
interior. To enable us to do this, we cut a trackway through the 
forest to Mount Eckersley, and there took up stations until we 
could get further inland. 

1837. It was not until the 3rd of August in this year 
that we succeeded in driving our first flock on to the Merino 
Downs Station a day that will be memorable in the recollection 
of the family of the writer as the natal day of his first-born son, 
Richmond. The remainder of our stock was sent up as fast as 
possible, with which we occupied the stations known as Muntham, 
Coiinell's run, and Sandford. At this time we had very great 
difficulty in retaining the services of any men, owing to the hostile 
disposition of the natives, to which many of our men's lives were 

1838. In this year, Mr. Samuel Winter came over from Van 
Diemen's Land, and shortly afterwards took up a station called 
Tahara, adjoining our Merino Downs run. Shortly afterwards 
Mr. John Bryan came over; and when it became known in Van 
Diemen's Land that we had opened up a road into the interior 
many other gentlemen followed our 'example. 

1840. Among others, in 1840, were Messrs. Pilleau and 
Jones, McCulloch, Purbrick, Savage, J. G. Robertson, Coldham, 
McPherson, Ritchie, and many others, until all the country imme- 
diately around us was taken possession of. It was in October of 
this year that the first land sale took place, and which deprived us 
of some of that land upon which we had made improvements at so 
much expense to ourselves some of it realizing at the rate of 
1,600 an acre. 

264 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

The South Australian Government held out very great induce- 
ments for the selection of special surveys. This induced me to 
take a journey across the boundary of this colony in search 
of some suitable spot on the coast within the colony of South 
Australia ; and for this purpose I prepared a party of two men and 
myself, and took my departure from Merino Downs in June 1839, 
steering a direct course by compass for Mount Gambler, which I 
reached on the second day. To those who have not seen Mount 
Gambler it may seem strange when I say that I ascended it by a very 
gentle slope on the north-east side, and was scarcely aware of my 
exact position until I reached the brink of the enormous eastern 
lake, a sight which I never can forget quite beyond my power of 
description. At this time I was not certain whether this beautiful 
country belonged to the South Australian colony, or I should at 
once have applied for a special survey in that locality, for at this 
time I believe no European had ever seen the country but my own 
party. Under this doubt, I determined to push further on, and 
examine the coast line as far as Cape Jaffa, and therefore extended 
my search for 28 days without success, and returned along the 
coast to Portland. We afterwards formed cattle stations at 
Mount Gambier, of which we were subsequently deprived by the 
chicanery of some unprincipled individuals in search of sheep 
stations. This part of the country is now thickly settled. The 
export in wool alone from the port of Portland this season will 
reach, to about 12,000 bales, or in money value nearly 300,000, 
and traffic consequent upon this is now very great. 

Port Fairy was (like Portland, but subsequently _) settled first by 
the formation of a whaling party, and afterwards stock was intro- 
duced from Van Diemen's Land by Messrs. Conolly and Griffiths, 
but, owing to the very great expense attending it, both these 
gentlemen were ruined. 

The trade to Portland from Great Britain is very considerable, 
no less than eight large vessels having arrived direct within the 
last twelve months fully laden with cargo one of them, the 
Aberdeen clipper Frances Henty, belonging to the writer besides 
some emigrant ships, ranging from 1,350 tons down to 650 tons. 

Portland, January 14th 1854. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 265 


In February 1834 Mr. James Henty addressed to the Secretary 
of State for the Colonies (Mr. E. G. Stanley, now Earl Derby) a 
memorial praying to be allowed to purchase 2,500 acres of land, 
and a similar area for each of his seven sons, on the south coast of 
New Holland; which application was refused, on the ground that 
"arrangements had been made with an English company, with the 
concurrence of Parliament, for the colonization of that territory." 

Mr. Henty set forth in his memorial that he had parted with 
his landed property in England for the purpose of obtaining land 
in Van Diemen's Land under the regulations existing in 1830; 
that on his arrival he found that the system of selling land had 
in great measure deprived him of the opportunity of providing for 
his sons as he had expected, and that he had thus been compelled 
to hire land at an exorbitant rent. He also represented that he 
had suffered severe and unexpected losses at Swan River. 

Mr. Henty further stated that, with the aid of his sons, he had 
made several excursions to the south coast of New Holland, 
altogether apart from any settled part of the country ; that he had 
discovered islands, rivers, and headlands, not laid down in any 
published chart; and also that the south coast was faced with 
land to a considerable extent well calculated for sheep, and with- 
out asking any Government protection he prayed to be allowed to 
purchase, as above named, between the 135th and 145th degrees of 
east longitude, himself and sons paying a deposit of 5 per cent., 
and having a credit of ten years for the remainder of the purchase- 
money, which might be secured by mortgage on the land, bearing 
interest at 5 per cent. 

In sitpport of this proposal he urged the experience of his sons 
on the management and treatment of aborigines, acquired at 
Spencer's Gulf, Swan River, and King George's Sound, which 
would enable them to establish a friendly intercourse with the 
natives ; and he offered, on his application being acceded to, to give 
up the land-order which he held for 80,000 acres in Western 
Australia, by which would be shown his intention to become a 
bond fide settler, and not a land jobber. 

Colonial Secretary's Office, Van Diemeu's Land, 
31st December 1853. 

2G6 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

No. 53. 

Victoria, No. 17. Executive, 

O IR Melbourne, January 22nd 1853. 

In the case of the decease of the great majority of officers 
employed by Her Majesty's Government in these colonies, usage 
at least would confine the official notification to a simple record of 
the fact, and of the arrangements which such occurrence might 

2. There are circumstances, however, connected with the 
career of Mr. Henry Pulteney Dana, whose premature death 
occurred in November last, which may fully justify more particular 
remark. His name as Commandant of Native Police in this 
colony will have often been brought, during the past twelve years, 
under the notice of Her Majesty's Government. 

3. The raising of a police force from amongst the aboriginal 
tribes, which were found in occupation of the country upon the 
arrival of the first settlers, was a project of very early contempla- 
tion after the new settlement was formally recognised, and taken 
in charge by Government in 1836. In fact, in obedience to 
special instructions, preparatory steps were taken to this end by 
the officer in charge of the new settlement as early as 1837. 

4. The objects were two-fold the civilization of the younger 
natives, and the creation of a force which would be seemingly 
better adapted, in the then existing circumstances of the colony, 
than any other to check, if not to prevent, the aggressions of the 
tribes upon the lives and property of the scattered European 

5. Upon the appointment of the Protectors of Aborigines in 
1838, the carrying out of the scheme was somewhat injudiciously, 
for one reason or other, given into their hands, was pronounced a 
failure, and shortly after fell to the ground. However, after an 
interval, as the community grew and became dispersed over a 
larger extent of country, and collisions between the settlers and 
the aborigines became unavoidably more serious and fatal, the 
absolute necessity of securing some such co-operation on the part 
of the natives became more and more evident, and forced itself 
upon the attention of the local Government. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 267 

6. Many obstacles stood in the way ; the most difficult of 
removal arose from the peculiarly unsettled habits of the race, the 
power which the older natives have over the young, and the 
steady opposition which they interposed to the scheme. How- 
ever, in 1841, circumstances encouraged me to make the trial, 
and Mr. Henry P. Dana was, on his own urgent and repeated 
application, with but very moderate encouragement in many 
respects, authorized to undertake the task. 

7. The result is known, and need not be here detailed at 
length. A corps of native police was gradually embodied, disci- 
plined, and maintained under his sole management, which was 
acknowledged on all hands to have fully answered the main 
purposes for which it was organized, and to have rendered the 
most important service to the colony in the position in which it 
was then placed. It at once formed a link between the native 
and the European, and gave many opportunities for the establish- 
ment of friendly relations. The marked success which, in numerous 
instances, followed its employment gave confidence to the settler, 
removed the pretexts under which he would feel justified in taking 
redress into his own hands, and left no excuse for the vindictive 
reprisals which have been a blot upon the early years of the settle- 
ment. The native, on his side, soon saw that in yielding to his 
natural aggressive impulses he would be opposed to those who 
were not only his equals in savage cunning and endowment, but 
his superiors by alliance with the Europeans. 

8. Such was the general result of the experiment till within 
two years of the present time, when, with the cessation of the 
urgent necessity which had called it into existence, the native 
police was seen to be evidently on the decline. It had, in a great 
measure, attained the objects of its organization, and had outlived 
its time. Almost the entire number of the original members had 
died from accident or disease. The natural decay in numbers 
of the tribes in the colony, and their change of habits and character, 
particularly among the young, and many other causes, rendered 
the possibility of its further continuance by any exertion very 
questionable ; and, although provision for the funds requisite for 
its maintenance as a distinct branch of the police force was made 
by the Appropriation Act of the past year, it was soon seen that 

-2G8 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

the gold discovery had its influence vipon this service also, and 
that the native police was in fact becoming extinct. 

9. Though I am anxious that the memory of the existence and 
services of this corps, which furnished the only example of success 
among the many schemes set on foot to raise the aboriginal native 
in this quarter of New Holland above his natural level, should not 
be lost, and am glad to seize the opportunity of making this 
record, yet my principal object is to do justice to the officer who 
from first to last was the mainspring of the whole. I have no 
hesitation in saying that the entire credit of the measure is due to 
Mr. Dana, for no one who did not bring to the work his tact, 
energy, firmness, and moral and physical powers of endurance, 
could have succeeded. The service was a most peculiar one in 
every point of view, entailing much self-denial and many sacrifices, 
but it suited his natural temper and talents, and even ministered 
to his foibles. He may have had his failings, but that he spent 
himself freely in the service with singleness of purpose, and that 
the hardships and exposure which it inevitably entailed under- 
mined his constitution and brought him to a premature grave, there 
can be no question. 

10. Had Mr. Dana lived, there can be no doubt but that his 
claims, whenever incapacitated for active duties, to favourable 
consideration, after services of so peculiar and important a 
character to the colony, would have been most readily conceded, 
and I think his untimely death should not debar his family 
from such consideration as it may be in the power of Her 
Majesty's Government to show. The case, viewed in rela- 
tion to the aboriginal inhabitants of the colony now rapidly 
disappearing from its surface, if in no other, is one which stands 
on its own ground, and cannot be drawn into an inconvenient 

11. Mr. Dana leaves a widow and four children of very tender 
years, and I am heartily supported by the recommendation of my 
Executive Council in praying that Her Majesty's Government 
would concede that a gratuity at the rate of two hundred pounds 
for each year's service should be awarded to the children, and 
placed in the hands of the gentlemen named under his will to act 
as trustees and executors, such gratuity to be held chargeable 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 269' 

against that portion of the unappropriated moiety of the land fund, 
which is set apart for the aborigines, a far larger proportion, it 
may be remarked, than can ever now be so employed. 

I have, &c., 


The Right Honorable 

Sir J. Pakington, Bart. 



Mildura Station, River Murray, 
MY LORD 10th October 1853. 

In compliance with your lordship's request, I do myself the 
honour to furnish a few practical remarks upon the present and 
probable future condition of the aboriginal natives of Australia, 
more particularly of the tribes inhabiting the districts of the 
Murray and Darling. 

These remarks are the result of my own observations, and are 
expressive of opinions and convictions which have been matured 
by the experience of a residence in Victoria since the early years 
of its establishment. 

The almost universal opinion of the world seems to assign to 
the aboriginal natives of Australia the very lowest place in the scale 
of civilization and of intellect. In this opinion I cannot agree. 

2. The past experience, of upwards of 60 years, has abundantly 
shown that the aboriginal natives of Australia are, even in the 
most uncultivated state of their faculties, possessed of a con- 
siderable amount of intelligence, observation, quickness of appre- 
hension, and aptitude for instruction in both reading and writing. 
But, notwithstanding all these natural advantages, and which they 
have been found in all parts of the colony to possess, I think it 
indisputably proved that there is a very clearly-defined limit to- 

270 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

their civilization, amelioration of condition, and permanent 
improvement, either morally or physically. 

3. Those who have gained experience in managing them on a 
proper system have found them capable of being civilized to a 
certain extent, and, in many cases, made useful in a short time 
without much trouble. How far they are capable of being 
brought to a higher aud more permanent degree of civilization 
may very properly be considered worthy of inquiry. I fear the 
question may already be considered determined. 

4. On this station, they have always been managed upon a 
uniform and rational system ; they have ever been, both to my 
brother and myself, objects of interest. We have for many years 
endeavoured to show them the advantages of permanent improve- 
ment and the general amelioration of their condition. We have 
exclusively employed them, and successfully, for some years in 
shepherding and in the usual routine of the management of sheep 
on a station, in sheep-washing, and also in sheep-shearing to a 
limited extent. Their services have, during the recent scarcity of 
labour consequent on the gold discoveries of Australia, been to us 
and other settlers on the Murray and Darling of great value. The 
proper principle of managing them is founded on consistency, kind- 
ness, firmness, and decision. Following out this plan, we continue 
to secure their services for shepherding and some other descrip- 
tions of work. The prospect, however, of a continuance of their 
services I consider doubtful. I think it probable we shall resume 
in part the employment of European shepherds as soon as the 
state of the supply of labour will allow. Every year's experience 
clearly shows that there is a certain limit to their usefulness and 
general improvement. I use the word limit advisedly, as I much 
regret to say I feel quite satisfied of the correctness of my opinion 
beyond this limit we seem to have no encouragement to look 
for or to expect any advance. Our object and aim here is, at all 
times, to prevent a retrograde movement amongst those who have 
reached a certain state of usefulness and improvement. Very 
great difficulty is experienced in keeping them up to this given 
point, despite of every encouragement that can be offered. 

It unfortunately appears that we cannot impart to them a 
<lisposition for permanently improving their condition. They 

Letters from Victorian Piotieers. 271 

have now no more wish than formerly to adopt even the first 
elements of civilization, and abandon their unsettled and roving 
life. In these districts, during the summer months, nearly all, 
from the oldest to the youngest in the various tribes, have the 
greatest desire to abandon every employment, and indulge in the 
roving life of naked savages. The tribes on the Lower Murray 
and Darling are, generally speaking, on friendly terms ; they not 
unfrequently during their annual migrations travel over 200 or 
300 miles of country, increasiug in numbers as they proceed, 
alternately hunting, fishing, and levying contributions on both 
sheep and cattle, as they slowly and indolently saunter along the 
banks of the Murray and Darling. Such is the limited degree of 
civilization which even the best of our blacks have reached, that 
during these migrations we always experience considerable diffi- 
culty in retaining out of the whole tribe the necessary number for 
shepherding alone. All the present and future advantages offered 
fail to compensate the savage for the disappointment of not being 
able to join in these wild and roving excursions of the tribes. 

5. Hopes were, for many years, entertained that some of the 
younger blacks might be permanently reclaimed and easily 
civilized when separated from the older ones. I think the experi- 
ment may be looked upon as having been fairly and fully tried; 
the result, in nearly all cases, has been most discouraging. 

6. As regards their religious opinions, they have none ; they 
have no knowledge whatever of a Supreme Being ; and their only 
idea of a future state of existence consists in some vague notion 
that after death they may be changed into whites. I do not at all 
consider this idea an original one. They have great superstitious 
dread of an evil spirit; all their ideas, however, are extremely 
vague and illusory. 

7. Death is at all times by them attributed to human agency. 
When any black, whether old or young, dies, an enemy is supposed 
during the night to have made an incision in his side and removed 
his kidney fat. Even the most intelligent natives cannot be con- 
vinced that any death proceeds from natural causes. 

8. With regard to the numbers in the tribes of the Murray and 
Darling, it is an extremely difficult matter to form even an ap- 
proximate estimate. They are not nearly so numerous as has been. 

272 Letters Jrom Victorian Pioneers. 

generally supposed. I do not imagine that the numbers occupying 
the country, on both sides of the Murray from Swan Hill to the 
South Australian boundary, and the Darling from its junction 
with the Murray to Fort Bourke (500 miles up the Darling), taken 
together, would amount to more than 1,500. 

During the past five or six years, the decrease in their numbers 
has been very marked; the increase extremely small, and bearing 
no proportion to the decrease; evidently showing that they are 
dying off, whilst there are few indeed to replace them. 

Infanticide prevails to a great extent. I can obtain no satis- 
factory reason why it does so ; they are, in general, fond of their 
children, and invariably appreciate any kindness that may be 
shown to them. Some years ago the offspring only of white men 
and aboriginal women were destroyed ; of late, infanticide has, 
however, become so general, that even in these remote tribes the 
greater number of the children is destroyed immediately after 
their birth. The supply of food of various sorts is here by no 
means precarious. During many months of the year the waters 
of the Murray and Darling furnish an immense supply of fish; at 
other seasons of the year edible roots in great variety are plentiful, 
even in the interior and more northern parts of the Darling. 

The occupation of the country by the stock of the settlers 
produces no apprehensions amongst any of the tribes of a 
deficiency of the necessary supply of food for themselves and 
their children. 

10. They chiefly die here either of pulmonary and rheumatic 
complaints, or of cutaneous disease of a very loathsome descrip- 
tion ; their physical sufferings, during their many long and 
lingering illnesses, are very great. I am not aware of any having 
as yet died from the evil effects of intercourse with Europeans. 
The debasing influence of spirits has, fortunately, not as yet 
extended to the Lower Murray, and produced the baleful effects 
which may be seen on the miserable remnant of the race near 

In cases of sickness, much kindness and watchful attention is 
shown to male relatives. I have never seen a case in which they 
were neglected. When seriously unwell, they frequently express 
a wish to be removed from one place to another ; the wish is 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 273 

complied with at all times, anil they are removed either by means 
of a canoe or by a rude litter made for the occasion. In the case 
of sickness or death of a female, the attention paid is compara- 
tively slight. 

When death occurs, the lamentation and wailings are kept up 
during the night for some time; no allusion is ever afterwards 
made to the deceased, and, from the oldest to the youngest of the 
tribe, all betray a decided aversion ever to speak of the deceased, 
or to mention his or her name. They have also a superstitious 
dread of hearing the name mentioned even by a European. 

The manner of disposing of the dead varies throughout the 
colony ; here they adopt the plan of immediate interment, some 
few feet under ground, wood and grass being with some care 
piled over the grave. 

11. Of the fact that they are cannibals, we have many con- 
clusive proofs ; it is, however, only under very extraordinary 
circumstances that I have ever heard of any of their tribe feasting 
on human flesh. In general, they very carefully extract and eat 
only the kidney fat of their victim. On some occasions, in 
accordance with superstitious rite, they carry about with them 
the legs, arms, and pieces of the skin of their victim, not for the 
purpose of eating these, but with the view of distribution as 
charms for fishing operations. 

12. Although they do not live in any regularly formed society, 
and there are many tribes even without a chief, still their marriages 
are conducted in a systematic manner. The husbands and wives 
are generally from different tribes. A classification of families 
has been always adopted, and rigidly adhered to. 

13. With regard to the probable future condition of the 
aboriginal natives of the whole or any part of Australia, I have 
always been impressed with the idea that, in order to succeed in 
ameliorating the condition of savages, and bringing about anything 
like civilization amongst them, concentration would be found neces- 
sary. " Civilization is the result of a long social process." Those 
submit to civilization with the greatest difficulty who habitually 
live by roving and hunting. Every one who understands the 
matter can easily foresee that the natives of Australia are most 
unlikely to conform to civilization; they are as obstinately attached 

274 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

as ever to all the superstitious prejudices, passions, customs, and 
habits of their forefathers ; they have always been found totally 
destitute of the most essential preliminary of civilization, and I 
fear they will never acquire it. 

They exhibit great dislike to the restraint even of living at a 
particular place for any length of time, though there found in 
abundance of food and clothing. 

14. In confirmation of the opinion I have expressed, with 
respect to the improbability of any of the Australian tribes ever 
being civilized, and even few of their numbers ever being advanced 
beyond a limited extent, I would adduce some facts from which I 
think conclusive opinions may very fairly be drawn. 

Looking back to our very earliest intercourse with the aboriginal 
natives of New South Wales, and to the attempts, both public 
and private, which were even then made to ameliorate their con- 
dition, we have the well-known case of the Sydney native 
Bennilong, who some sixty years ago was taken to England by 
the first Governor of New South Wales. In England, Bennilong 
remained for some time. Very soon after his return to the colony, 
however, he threw off all the clothes he had brought with him 
from England, and, returning to the bush, rejoined his tribe as a 
native savage. 

This was, perhaps, the first most discouraging proof that the 
aboriginal natives of Australia seem doomed to an animal and 
unimproving existence. 

Another and a well-known case occurred lately in Victoria. 
When the native police corps was broken up, after having been 
formed for many years, the fact was at once self-evident that, 
during these years of intercourse with Europeans and in various 
parts of the colony, the native troopers had acquired no indis- 
pensable taste for European comforts or civilization. On the other 
hand, they nearly all at once discarded the idea of further improve- 
ment or other employment, and, being dismounted, travelled on 
foot hundreds of miles to rejoin their respective tribes and resume 
their former habits of savage life. Several of these native police 
were recruited some years ago from this part of the colony. 
Having deserted prior to the breaking up of the corps, they re- 
turned here, having travelled on foot a distance of 400 miles. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 275 

Since their return, I regret to say, they have too clearly shown 
that they have not improved by their absence from savage life. 

15. Assuming the impracticability of any of the Australian 
tribes ever being civilized by means of concentration, and that 
further attempt to do so would only involve a useless expenditure 
of a large amount of money in a hopeless cause, the only question 
that remains is can useful knowledge be diffused amongst them, 
or can anything be done towards improving their condition with- 
out controlling their wandering habits ? Some attempts upon this 
principle were made many years ago in Canada by the Jesuits, 
but without success. I fear any attempts of this nature here 
would be equally fruitless. 

The Australian aboriginal race seem doomed by Providence, 
like the Mohican and many other well-known Indian tribes, to 
disappear from their native soil before the progress of civilization, 
and they will, in a few years, only have an existence in the recol- 
lection of man. The race is so rapidly disappearing here and in 
all other parts of the colony with which I am acquainted, that I 
fear no other inference than the one I adopt can be deduced 
either from past experience or from present prospects. 

I have, &c., 

The Right Rev. 

The Bishop of Melbourne, &c., &c. 

No. 55. 



Perhaps you have heard that, in 1802, two ships were de- 
spatched from Sydney with prisoners (under sentence of trans- 
portation from that place) and a suitable guard, in order to form, 
a settlement for the infliction of secondary punishment, and Port 

1 The date of Mr. Winter's notes about Port Phillip is probably 1837. ED. 
T 2 

276 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

Phillip was the place appointed for it. The vessels arrived there, 
but, strange to say, the country being considered inhospitable and 
badly watered, the place was relinquished, and the party came, 
instead, to Van Diemen's Laud, and formed the first settlement in 
this island. It appears that, from that time till about two years 
and a half ago, no one had visited that part of the coast adjacent 
to Port Phillip. Then some sailors, who had gone upon it by 
chance, described it in such terms as led Mr. Batman and one or 
two more to visit this new country. The result you know. A 
company of settlers was formed, and, while they were petitioning 
the Home Government for the grant of a large tract, the place 
became notorious, and all eyes were set towards a country possess- 
ing what seemed to the Van Diemen's Land settler the source of 
unbounded wealth, namely, unlimited pasturage for sheep, and 
that of the finest kind. Great numbers of sheep were soon sent 
over, so great that now, within two years of the first shipment, 
the estimated number of sheep and lambs in that country is 
250,000, a few only of which have been lately sent from Sydney 
out-stations overland. Having mentioned a few interesting cir- 
cumstances connected with the place, I will now describe the 
place itself. The entrance to Port Phillip lies about north of 
Circular Head, the north-west point of Van Diemen's Land, at a 
distance of 180 miles. The harbour resembles an inland sea, and 
is from 40 to 50 miles across. The navigation is, however, intri- 
cate, the water being for the most part shallow, with but a narrow 
channel through the sand flats, these being covered lor the most 
part with about 2 fathoms of water. At the north-east extremity 
of the harbour is the mouth of the Yarra Yarra River, upon 
which, at the distance of seven miles from the anchorage in the 
harbour, is the township of Melbourne. At the mouth of this 
river is a bar of mud, over which the water flows only 9 feet; con- 
sequently small vessels alone can reach the town. Williams Town 
is formed opposite the anchorage, on the western side of the mouth 
of the Yarra, at Gellibrand's Point, and would be a thriving town- 
ship but for the want of fresh water, of which none has been 
found, and the only supply at present is brought from Melbourne 
in boats. The situation of Williams Town is very pretty, and it 
consists of about ten houses and stores, chiefly for the reception 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 277 

of cargo from vessels. Melbourne is also beautifully situated 
on a geutly sloping hill, upon the banks of the Yarra, and 
surrounded by a lovely country, lightly covered with trees, 
chiefly eucalyptus and acacia. I think there are 150 houses 
built, or in progress, at the present time. For some miles round 
Melbourne, the country bears the same beautiful character 
grassy and luxuriant, with trees scattered over it, as in the 
k'ust woody parts of old forests in England. There is, how- 
ever, so great a scarcity of large, sound timber fit for building, 
that the greatest part of Melbourne is built with wood from Van 
Diemeii's Land. The want of good timber is generally felt through- 
out the colony, and, although there is plenty in the interior, it is 
probable that many parts will always be more easily supplied 
from the island than from elsewhere. Almost every kind of 
natural scenery is to be met with at Port Phillip, though it is very 
rarely that we find the steep, thickly-wooded hills which abound 
here. On the contrary, I should say that the largest quantity of 
land perhaps one-half the country already explored is plain, 
generally without trees, nearly flat and often stony. Some of 
these plains are lightly timbered, and are then called forests. The 
hills vary very much, some resembling the Wiltshire downs, with 
the same short pasturage; others covered with rich, long herbage, 
and spotted with trees ; while others are woody to the top. But few 
of them, however, are either too steep or too woody to prevent a 
horse trotting up to the top. About 50 miles west of the Port is a 
beautiful fresh- water lake, the scenery around which is delightful; 
it is about ten miles round. Beyond this is a salt-water lake 90 
miles in circumference, with numerous smaller ones or lagoons, 
all of which are salt. A singular feature of the country is the 
salt that abounds within a few yards of fresh water rivers ; water 
rises into holes as salt as the sea. I found one lagoon, the water 
of which was nearly gone, with a thick crust of pure salt ; and 
nearly all the wells hitherto dug yield the same briny fluid. There 
are no navigable rivers ; neither can the country be called well- 
watered. I doubt not, however, that eventually wells will be 
bored or dug sufficiently deep to reach fresh-water springs. 

The sheep, cattle, and horses, and indeed every animal that 
has been sent over, thrives in an extraordinary manner. Lambs 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

three months old weigh as much as their mothers, while the cows 
are like fatted beasts. 

The natives are numerous and troublesome ; indeed, they are 
the greatest drawback to the colony, since they cannot be trusted. 
Several murders ha\ r e been committed by them, but not lately, and 
they seem to fear the white man's revenge. 

The men are tall, well-made, and muscular ; their hair long, 
black, and generally curly (such as might be coveted by an English 
dandy) ; features very various, but often good ; teeth particularly 
fine. The original clothing, both of men and women, seemed to be 
two mats, made of skins joined together, the one hanging before, 
the other behind. Now most of them have some article of English 
clothing. Their natural food consists of the meat of the country 
when they can kill it, but chiefly roots, of which the favourite is 
that of a plant very much like dandelion. This they roast or eat 
raw. Their arms are spears, stone hatchets, and a sort of wooden 

The quadrupeds of the country are the kangaroo of the 
largest kind or forester only; opossum, bushy-tailed and ring- 
tailed ; flying squirrels, which are, I fancy, opossums, having the 
membrane between the legs these are various. The smallest, 
about as large as a full- sized cat, is a very beautiful animal, 
resembling the English squirrel in shape; the colour, slate shaded 
off to white ; the tail black, and the fur beautifully soft. The 
wombat, I believe, is the same as in Van Diemen's Land ; the holes 
are different, and are remarkable, being always of one construction. 
A large funnel-shaped hole, perhaps 6 feet deep and 3 in 
diameter at the bottom ; the burrow then strikes off horizontally, 
invariably under a large slab of stone, which prevents the earth 
falling. How the great hole is formed puzzles me; it is generally 
covered with grass, except the path by which the animal descends. 
Rats are very numerous, rather smaller than the common English 
one. The native dog, a perfect fox, is the most destructive animal 
to sheep on account of this, sheep are folded every night. I 
hope to send you a head of one. The birds are : The emu (I 
saw several but coiild not get one ; my overseer found a nest with 
sixteen eggs ; we left them, but the natives afterwards found and 
ate them); the native turkey, which is a bustard, and rather 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 279 

common; the native companion, a beautiful bird of the crane kind 
apparently. I was told of a kind of bat, with a body larger than 
a rat, "but could not see one. Owls are numerous, and there is a 
great variety; so are eagles and hawks. White parrots abound. 
Indeed, there is a great variety of this tribe, some very beautiful. 
Quill are very plentiful, one species being very rare ; their colour 
nearly black, with red spots. I saw one at a distance, but could 
not put it up again. I saw but few insects. The weather was 
often rather cold, and I was seldom stationary in a good district. 
Cicadae are deafening. 

No. 56. 

Sunday, January 17th 183G. I embarked this morning with 
my son Tom on board the Norval for Port Phillip, in company 
with Mr. Wm. Robertson, 1 Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Leake, Mr. 
Malcolm, and Mr. Mudie, the latter gentleman having the manage- 
ment of the sheep on board, the property of Capt. Swanston. 

After making Point Grant we encountered a severe gale of 
wind from the N.W., and the vessel lay-to for three nights and 
two days under close-reefed topsails. The vessel drifted about 
70 or 80 miles to the south-east, and on Sunday morning, January 
24th, at daylight the ship was again off Point Grant, and bearing 
up to the westward of Cape Schanck, and distant about twenty 

In consequence of the improper manner in which the vessel 
was fitted up for the stock, about 115 sheep perished by injuries 
and suffocation during the gale and the day afterwards. The 
greater portion of the hay had been destroyed in consequence of 
there not being any proper racks, and on Saturday the 23rd the 
passengers were under the necessity of assisting Mr. Mudie in 
feeding the sheep with flour and water. The Captain stated that 
he should not be able to make Port Phillip without two or three 

1 Member of the Association. 

280 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

tacks, and even if he succeeded in getting into Port Phillip that 
evening, it would most probably take him two days to reach the 
settlement ; and he also stated that the ship was under demurrage 
at 10 per day, and would be so until she came to anchor at 
Western Port, where she was engaged to take in a cargo of bark 
for the owner. Under these circumstances, and feeling convinced 
that if a change of wind took place and the vessel was again 
driven from the land the sheep must perish, and there not being 
any means of eyen keeping them alive for three days, and be- 
lieving that the sheep could be landed at Sandy Point that day, 
the passengers were unanimously of opinion that it would be for 
the interest of the charterers to proceed at once to Western Port, 
land the stock, and drive the sheep across to the settlement at 
Port Phillip. 

The Captain then, at the request of Mr. Mudie, made Western 
Port, and about twelve o'clock the vessel came to anchor near 
Sandy Point. About one, the Captain, Mr. Mudie, Mr. Robertson, 
Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Leake, and my son Tom proceeded to the shore, 
for the purpose of selecting a proper place to land the sheep. I 
remained on board, for the purpose of getting the long-boat out 
and the sheep ready for disembarkation. In about three hours the 
boat returned, and the parties stated that it was impossible to land 
sheep, as there was nothing but heath and scrub, and no appear- 
ance of water. 

A person of the name of Thorn was on board the vessel, for 
the purpose of acting as pilot at Western Port and superintending 
the shipment of the bark, and who was well acquainted with 
Western Port. He represented that there was a beautiful tract 
of land, with plenty of water, about ten miles further up the bay, 
and near to the Government settlement which had been abandoned 
in 1827. 

After some deliberation and hesitation on the part of the 
Captain, it was determined that a party should proceed at daylight 
to Phillip Island to examine that station, and if we could not find 
good land and water, to proceed at once to the spot pointed out by 
Mr. Thorn. 

January 2,5th. Went on shore at daylight with Mr. Malcolm, 
Mr. Robertson, and Mr. Mudie, to Phillip Island, and returned in 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 281 

about an hour, finding the island totally unfit for the purpose re- 
quired. Got the vessel immediately under weigh, and proceeded 
to the spot pointed out by Mr. Thorn, and came to anchor within 
a quarter of a mile from shore, about nine o'clock in the morn- 
ing. The long and other boats were immediately loaded with 
sheep, and Mr. Mudie, Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Leake, Mr. Malcolm, 
Tom, and myself and two shepherds, went ashore with the first 
boat. Mr. Robertson stayed on board for the purpose of superin- 
tending the sheep, and it was arranged that Mr. Mudie and the 
shepherds should wait on the beach and receive them, and that 
the others should examine the tract of land, and decide upon the 
most eligible spot as a temporary settlement. When the sheep 
were lauded they endeavoured to drink salt water, and were in- 
clined to wander (as sheep always do in a strange place). They 
were landed upon a point of land with abundance of grass, and 
300 acres of land might be enclosed by a line of 150 yards. 
When I landed, I particularly cautioned the shepherds not to let 
the sheep stray, and to keep them from salt water. We then pro- 
ceeded to examine the land, and found abundance of grass, and in 
some places it was 6 feet high ; but we did not find any water. 
In passing through one of the valleys I found the gleams of heat 
extremely oppressive, and which brought on violent palpitations 
and a determination of blood to the head. We were then distant 
about three miles from the vessel. I walked back, supported by 
Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Leake, about one mile, but was unable to 
proceed any further. I then lay down under a tree, Tom and Mr. 
Leake remaining with me, and Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Malcolm 
proceeded to the vessel, to procure assistance. They returned in 
two hours with a boat, and I reached the vessel about three 
o'clock, and found all the sheep, amounting to 1,009, had been 

In the evening, Mr. Robertson, Mr. Leake, and Mr. Gardiner 
went ashore, and found the shepherds near the Point, and that 
the sheep had strayed away. They went in search of them, and 
brought back to the Point about 800, which they placed in charge 
of the three shepherds who were then on shore. 

January 26th. Mr. Robertson and the other gentlemen went 
on shore at daylight, and fouud that the shepherds, instead of 

282 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

being stationed back in the bush, so as to keep the sheep on the 
neck, had, in fact, wholly neglected their duty, and had slept at the 
extreme point on the beach, close to the vessel, and on searching 
for the sheep, only two or three, which were in a dying state, 
could be found. The gentlemen then proceeded in search of the 
sheep, and returned about eleven o'clock to the ship to breakfast, 
having walked about fifteen miles in a fruitless search after the 
sheep. Mr. Robertson, having found from Mr. Thorn that there was 
a fine river about nine miles from the Point, was extremely anxious 
to proceed in search of the sheep as far as the river, under the expec- 
tation of finding them, and Mr. Thorn promising to meet them in 
the evening with the long-boat near the mouth of the river. The 
Captain and my son left the vessel about the same time, and pro- 
ceeded along the beach, on the other side of the point, and as far 
as the late settlement. The Captain and Tom found the tracks 
of sheep along the beach, and about two miles from the landing 
place, a muddy saltwater creek, and the carcases of about 28O 
sheep in and near the creek. Mr. Robertson and the others reached 
the vessel about eleven o'clock at night ; they had been unsuc- 
cessful in their search ; they were worn out with fatigue and 
anxiety. Mr. Mudie went into violent hysterics. Mr. Robertson 
and Mr. Leake were both taken exceedingly ill, and, in fact, 
nature appeared quite exhausted. 

January 21th. We this morning took into consideration 
our own situation and what course should be pursued. Having 
suffered from the heat on Monday, I did not think it proper to 
expose myself to the dangers of a journey overland, and I inti- 
mated my intention of staying on board until a better opportunity 
of proceeding either backwards or forwards presented itself, but 
finding that one or two of the gentlemen would follow my example 
and that the others would proceed overland to Port Phillip and 
thinking that three or four might be exposed to dangers which 
eight might prevent, and knowing also the anxiety I should feel 
in the uncertainty of their fate, I at length determined that we 
should all proceed by the first opportunity to Port Phillip. 

We were all anxious, however, before we quitted the vessel, 
to conclude some arrangement for the establishment of Mr. Mudie, 
until we could send him assistance from Port Phillip ; and, as the- 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 283 

late Government station appeared the most eligible for that purpose, 
on account of its situation and supply of water, we proceeded this 
morning in the whale-boat to that station and made arrangements, 
which appeared satisfactory to Mi\ Mudie, who then determined 
to remove all his stores, and also the wives of the shepherds out 
of the vessel and fix his station there, so that we might direct a 
party where to find him. 

On our return to the ship, the party were all busily engaged 
in making arrangements for the proposed journey, and I was busily 
employed in making calomel pills, in case any of the party should 
be taken ill. This day was extremely sultry, and we were wait- 
ing some hours in anxious expectation of the sea breeze, as we 
were desirous of reaching Sandy Point that night, so that we 
might start upon our journey by daylight. 

About five o'clock a slight breeze set in, and we bid farewell to 
the Norval, each person taking one bottle of water, and trusting 
to Providence for such further supplies as we might require. 
In our passage to Sandy Point, Mr. Gardiner shot a swan, and 
Tom another. We were unable to reach. Sandy Point before 
dark, and about three-quarters of a mile from our landing place 
the boat grounded on a sandbank with a rapid ebbing tide, and 
we remained aground, high and dry, all night. At daylight the 
tide was flowing, and in one and a half hours the vessel was 
afloat, and about six o'clock we landed and saw many tracks of 
the natives upon the beach. We made a fire and roasted the 
swans for breakfast, which proved very acceptable, and, after 
having remunerated Mr. Thorn for his trouble, and obtained from 
him a promise to return to the same spot on the following Sunday, 
in case we should be unable to accomplish our purpose, Mr. 
Thorn took his departure in the boat, and we commenced our 

28th. The party were eight in number ; all carried arms 
except myself, and all knapsacks except Tom and myself. Mr.. 
R. most kindly carried the greater portion of my provisions,, 
and Mr. L. the blankets, and the remainder was carried by my 
shepherd. Mr. G. was chosen conductor ; and, in case of any 
appearance of the natives, the gentlemen were all pledged to act 
under my directions. 

."284 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

We pursued a course N.W., and found the country for the first 
three miles heath and low scrub. We then got into a thin forest, 
and after we had walked about nine miles, I felt the same effects 
from the heat that I had experienced the previous Monday, and, 
in consequence, the party halted in the forest. I lay down for 
about two hours, and finding the heat very oppressive, I took 
three grains of calomel, and in half an hour afterwards took 
another pill. 

Whilst we were in the forest, Mr. L. had exhausted his supply 
of water, and at this time he was determined to leave us in search of 
water. Accordingly Mr. L. and one of the men left us, and \vere 
absent upwards of one hour. We became much alarmed at their 
absence, but at length heard a cooey, and they returned with the 
intelligence that they had fallen in with about 100 native huts, 
and near the huts had discovered water. We then packed up our 
things, and proceeded on our course, and in about a quarter of an 
hour came to a few waterholes, surrounded with a thick scrub. 
The party dined at this place, and, although it was extremely hot, 
we remained there till five o'clock, under the shelter of a blanket 
tent, to protect us from the rays of the sun. 

Having filled all our bottles with water, we then proceeded on 
our journey ; and, supposing the distance across to the bay of 
Port Phillip to be only a few miles, we were induced to hope we 
should reach the beach that night. Several times we fancied we 
could discern the sea, and we kept on walking till ten o'clock at 
night, when we got into a piece of open scrub, and thinking it 
safer to lie down in an open place, we determined to stay there 
that night ; and those who had blankets spread them out and lay 
down to rest, affording part to those who had none. We were 
too tired either to make a fire or to eat. 

January 2Sth, >We rose at daylight and proceeded on our 
journey without any breakfast, under the hope of making the bay. 
We came to two or three very scrubby places, but without water, 
and at this time I do not think there was a bottle of water 
amongst the whole party. One or two of the gentlemen were of 
opinion that we were making too much north, which prevented 
vis from reaching the bay, and as that seemed to be the object of our 
desire, our course was altered a point or two more west, and about 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 285 

eight o'clock in the morning we came upon a saltwater creefc 
which led to Port Phillip Bay. 

We found a fire burning in two native huts, and every appear- 
ance of their having been occupied the previous night ; and on the 
beach we found tracks of natives proceeding towards Arthur's 
Seat. We rested here, and made a fire ; some of the party pro- 
ceeded in search of water, which, however, was very brackish. 
We had our breakfast and consumed what little water was left. 
Two bottles of the brackish water were boiled with tea, in the 
event of not finding better water. After resting at this place 
about half an hour we proceeded on our journey about five miles, 
and then discovered several native huts, and to our great joy and 
gratitude found a creek with an abundant supply of water. We 
rested at this place about two hours, filled our bottles, and pro- 
ceeded on our journey about six miles, and came to some more 
waterholes and native huts. We dined at this spot, took a fresh 
supply of water, and proceeded on our journey, and came to a 
tract of low scrubby land, upon which we took to the beach, and 
came to an open sandy bay, about thirty or forty miles long. We 
continued walking till about six o'clock, when the weather became 
squally and wet. We walked for about half an hour, and had 
intended to do so till late at night, but the rain increasing, we 
thought it most prudent to get some shelter before it was dark. 
We then went into the scrub and found a sheltered spot. We 
made a blanket hut to protect us from the rain, with a large fire 
in front. We soon found a large quantity of blue ants on the 
ground which we had selected for our resting place, and I there- 
fore, as it was too late to move our tent, spread the ashes all over 
the ground, which had the effect of driving them away. It con- 
tinued raining till about two o'clock, but as we were lying on a 
sand bank, the rain was all absorbed. 

30th January. We started this morning about half an hour 
before daylight and continued walking till eight o'clock without 
finding any fresh water. We then rested and had our breakfast and 
about half a pint of tea to each person, which was all the water we 
had left, and we then continued our journey, expecting at every 
turn of the bay that we should discover the river. We continued 
walking till twelve o'clock, when Mr. Leake and Tom lay down, 

286 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

and declared they could not proceed any further till they got water. 
We had now quitted the shore and got upon high land again. 
After resting on the hill about half an hour, I urged upon the 
party to proceed, and after some difficulty we were all on the 
march, but some of the party were a considerable distance behind. 
We were now on a native track, and the advantage of following 
those tracks is soon experienced. This track continued along the 
margin of the hill, and ultimately led us to the beach, and near 
the beach we found a few native huts and one native well. Upon 
discovering the well, Mr. G-. gave the welcome shout " Water ! " 
which was immediately repeated by the others, and in a few 
minutes the weary ones in arrear came rushing down, anxious to 
quench their thirst. But by the time they had reached the well 
Mr. G-. reported the water to be bad. Mr. R., however, examined 
the well, and thinking that it had been choked up, he got an 
oyster shell and cleaned it out, and deepened it ; expecting that 
the fresh water would be good. The party were now obliged 
to wait with much anxiety, watching the rising of the water in 
the hole; and at length Mr. R. was enabled to distribute to each 
person half a pint, and in about one hour, a second supply of 
one pint each was distributed for dinner, and we were enabled, 
when we quitted at four o'clock, to take with us three bottles of 

At four we continued our course along the beach, Mr. 
Gardiner and myself making the first start, and in about ten 
minutes we saw a dog on the beach, advancing toward us ; at 
length he stopped and ran back again and turned into the bush, 
from which we concluded that the natives were at hand. We 
waited till some of the party came up, and then advanced and 
found on the beach part of a boomer kangaroo, and we saw the 
tracks of several natives on the beach, and several tracks of dogs. 

We fully expected this night to reach the settlement, and we 
pushed on until seven o'clock ; we then came to a point which we 
fully expected would be the head of the river. We crossed over 
the point and found a stack of wattle bark, and we also found the 
hut where the barkers had lived, and the tracks of a cart. It 
had been raining about three-quarters of an hour, and we were 
nearly wet through. We felt assured that we were near the 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


settlement, and that the bark had been obtained by Mr. Fawkner's 
party, but we could not see the river. It was near night, and 
there was every appearance of a wet night, and we therefore con- 
sidered it most prudent at once to make a blanket hut for the 
night, and make a fire, before the bark and grass were too wet, 
and which we accordingly did. Two of the party went in search 
of waterholes, but without success ; and Tom went to the beach, 
to shoot a duck, and in about ten minutes he returned, having 
found the waterholes near the beach, and where we again 
obtained an abundant supply of good water. This night was very 
wet, and the most uncomfortable night we had experienced. 

31 st January. Although we were satisfied that we were near 
the settlement, we considered it most prudent to keep the bay 
until we reached the river, and after walking seven miles further, 
we at length discovered the mouth of the river. My feet had 
been for the last two clays very much blistered, and I felt quite 
unable to walk any further ; and I therefore proposed that half 
the party should proceed to the settlement, and send a boat or 
a horse to my assistance ; and Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Leake, Mr. 
Malcolm, and Tom proceeded to the settlement. I hobbled along, 
with the assistance of Mr. Robertson, about three miles, and then 
waited for the horse or boat. In about half an hour a boat, manned 
with blacks, came down the river. We hailed them, and after 
explaining where we had come from, and who we were, they 
came to our assistance. We found they were going to the Heads 
to fish; but they immediately proceeded with us to the settle- 
ment, and we arrived there about twelve o'clock. 

The settlement consists of about a dozen huts, built with turf, 
on the left bank of the river Yarra Yarra. The river, from the 
mouth to the settlement, is about eight miles long ; it is salt for 
about six. The first two miles, it is about 500 yards wide ; for 
the next three miles, it is about 300 yards. It then becomes 
gradually narrower, and is about 60 yards wide at the settlement, 
with deep and precipitous banks, and vessels of 60 tons burthen 
can with safety proceed to the settlement, close to the shore, and 
discharge a cargo. As it was of importance that immediate as- 
sistance should be rendered to Mr. Mudie, I made arrangements 
with Mr. Batman to despatch, on the next morning, four Sydney 

1'ss Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

natives who, it appeared, were well acquainted with Western 
Port, and who, upon my questioning them, appeared also quite 
confident that they would be able to find the sheep, and bring 
them to Port Phillip. 

I felt very much vexed on learning that the natives, with the 
exception of two, had left the settlement on a hunting expedition 
a few days previous, and would not return for some time. 

1st February. I had, this morning, a long conversation with 
Buckley, and explained to him very fully the desire of the Asso- 
ciation, in every respect, to meet his views, and to make him 
superintendent over the native tribes, for the purpose of protecting 
them from aggressions, and also of acting as an interpreter in 
imparting to them not only the habits of civilization, but also of 
communicating religious knowledge. It appears, from his state- 
ment, that the tribes are most peaceably disposed ; that they fully 
understand the nature of the grants issued by them, and that they 
are looking forward to the time when the blankets, tomahawks, 
and flour will be distributed. 

Buckley appears to be of a nervous and irritable disposition, 
and a little thing will annoy him much, but this may arise from 
the peculiar situation in which he has been placed for so many 
years. I am quite satisfied that he can only be acted upon by 
kindness and conciliation, and that by those means he will be an 
instrument in the hands of Providence in working a great moral 
change upon the aborigines. He is not at all desirous of occupying 
any laud or having sheep, but is highly pleased at the idea of being 
appointed superintendent of the natives, with a fixed stipend, so 
that, to use his own expression, " he may know what he has to 
depend upon," and be enabled to make a few presents to his native 
friends. I told him that I intended on the following day to 
proceed to Geelong, and inquired whether he would not like to 
visit his own country. He seemed much pleased at the idea, but 
stated he did not think he could walk so far. I then proposed 
he should ride, which seemed to gratify him very much, and in 
consequence I engaged a large cart-horse of Mr. Fawkner's for 
that purpose. 

My feet were so bad I could not walk, and, as I was desirous 
of seeing No. 12, I had my horse taken to the fording place and 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 289 

round to the Saltwater Creek, and about ten o'clock Mr. G., Mr. 
II., Dr. Cotter, myself, and Linfield, went in the whaleboat to the 
creek. I took Linfield with me for the purpose of making him 
acquainted with that section, as I intended to stock it. 

After passing over about six miles of the section we came 
upon a large saltwater river, which Dr. Cotter was of opinion 
communicated with a chain of freshwater ponds which he had 
recently crossed on that section. Dr. C. and myself, therefore, 
proceeded to trace up the river, and I requested the remainder of 
the party to trace it down to the sea. Dr. C. and myself then, 
traced the river up to the chain of ponds, and I was quite satisfied 
there was plenty of water on the Grant. We then made across to- 
the point at which the ships lay and the stock was landed, and we 
found all the party, with the exception of Linfield, who, it appeared, 
had stayed behind. We waited for him about three-quarters of an 
hour, and as it was six in the evening, the gentlemen were anxious 
to return, and I therefore desired the man to take the horse round 
to the point, find Linfield, and bring him home by the fording 
place. About ten o'clock at night the man returned home with 
the horse, and stated that he could not find Linfield anywhere, and 
as I felt very uneasy about him, I desired Mr. Batman to send the 
boat at daylight the next morning in search of him. 

2nd February. The boat returned this morning, about seven 
o'clock, with Linfield, who, finding he had lost us, proceeded to- 
the Saltwater Creek, where he had been landed, and being, as I 
imagined, very much afraid of the natives, sat up in a tree all 
night, and seeing the boat come down the river cooeyed to them. 

Mr. Fawkner's vessel arrived this morning from George 
Town, and I considered it advisable to send assistance to Mr. 
Mudie in the removal of the women, stores, and rams from 
Western Port, and I therefore engaged the vessel for one trip, 
upon Captain Swanston's account. In consequence of Mr. 
Fawkner's people being engaged with the vessel, we were unable 
to obtain the horses for our journey until about four in the after- 
noon, when we started, seven in number, intending to reach 
Captain Swanston's station on the River Exe that night. The 
scenery from the settlement to the ford on the Saltwater River 
is most beautiful, and some of the spots quite enchanting. The 

290 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

grass had been burnt about a month previously, and was then 
quite green and beautiful; the land is very rich, and consists of a 
succession of gentle hills and dales ; and the first view of the 
Saltwater River and its Avindings is beautiful beyond description. 
We reached the ford about 6.30, and we found the country com- 
pletely changed when we crossed the ford. The land was then 
quite flat, and rather rocky; and from the ford to the station on 
the Exe, a distance of fourteen miles, and, in fact, up to Geelong 
Harbour, consisted of open plains, with a thin coat of grass, and 
exposed to the cold winds. We did not reach the station until 
10.30 at night, and were compelled for the last seven miles to 
follow a cart-track, which we were fortunately enabled to do, as 
it was a starlight night. 

3rd February. As Mr. Furgesson had not found the sheep, 
and we were proceeding in the direction where they had been 
lost, he proposed to accompany us in our visit to Geelong, and we 
started this morning about seven o'clock. At noon we came upon 
a chain of ponds, which appeared to come from the Debacka- 
rite, and which I accordingly noted in my chart. We stopped 
at this chain of ponds and dined, and towards evening we came 
upon some native wells, near the point of Geelong Harbour, 
which are called Geewar, and as there was good feed for the 
horses, we determined on staying here for the night. 

4th February. We started from Geewar about six o'clock, 
and shortly afterwards entered the section No. 16, which we found 
to contain a tract of most excellent land, fit for agricultural or 
pastoral purposes. After travelling about fourteen miles, we 
came to some more native wells on the margin of the bay, and 
close to the line which divides 16 from 17. We stayed at this 
place and dined, and then proceeded across the Bellarine Hills to 
the settlement at Indented Head. 

The Bellarine Hills contain about 20,000 acres of land of the 
finest description ; they consist of hill and dale, and although we 
did not see any water in the valleys, I am satisfied water could 
be easily obtained. The land is thinly timbered; the soil appeared 
very rich, and fit for any purpose. The kangaroo grass was up 
to my middle, and with a thick bottom. It is as fine a tract of 
land as any I have as yet passed over. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 291 

We reached the settlement about four o'clock, and I learned, 
to my extreme mortification, that some of the natives had that 
morning, and the others the day previously, quitted the settle- 
ment, iu consequence of the threats made use of by the man at the 
station that he would shoot the natives. 

I found that the natives had a few nights previously stolen 
about a sack of potatoes out of the garden ; they had pulled up 
the roots and taken the potatoes, and then planted the roots in the 
earth again, thinking they should not be discovered ; and, to pre- 
vent a repetition of this conduct, the threats had been made use of, 
without the slightest intention of carrying them into execution. 
I found, in answer to my inquiries, that no food of any description 
had been given to the natives for the last three months ; that, 
although there is abundance of fish at Indented Head, yet there 
are no means of catching them, and that the natives had no idea 
of making boats or catamarans. 

February 5th. We started very early this morning, under the 
expectation that we should see the natives, and in order that they 
should not be frightened, I directed Buckley to advance, and we 
would follow him at the distance of a quarter of a mile. Buckley 
made towards a native well, and after he had ridden about eight 
miles we heard a cooey, and when we arrived at the spot I wit- 
nessed one of the most pleasing and affecting sights. There were 
three men, five women, and about twelve children. Buckley 
had dismounted, and they were all clinging round him, and tears 
of joy and delight running down their cheeks. It was truly an 
affecting sight, and proved the affection which these people enter- 
tained for Buckley. I felt much affected at the sight myself, and 
considered it a convincing proof of the happy results which will 
follow our exertions, if properly directed. Amongst the number 
were a little old man, and an old woman, one of his wives. 
Buckley told me this was his old friend, with whom he had lived 
and associated 30 years. I was surprised to find that this old 
man had not a blanket, and I inquired the cause, and was much 
concerned to learn that no blankets had been given him, because 
he did not leave that part of the country and proceed to Dutigalla 
for it. I could ill spare my blankets for him, but I could not 
refrain from giving one of them to Buckley in order that he might 

u z 

292 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

give it to his friend, with an. assurance that he should have fur- 
ther clothing after our return. The men seemed much surprised 
at the horses. I, however, after some little persuasion, induced 
the youngest man to put his foot in the stirrup and mount my 
grey mare, and I led the horse round a few paces, to the great 
delight of the whole party. I then coaxed the mare, and put my 
face to hers, to show them they need not be afraid, and then pre- 
vailed upon a young girl, about thirteen years of age, also to take 
a ride. As soon as the horse began to move she seemed very 
much alarmed, and her countenance bespoke her fears, but she 
continued silent. We gave them a few presents, and then left 
them to proceed on our journey. 

I may here mention that so soon as Buckley crossed the Saltwater 
River, and obtained a view of his own country, his countenance 
was much changed, and when we reached Geeloug, he took the 
lead, and kept us upon a trot. He seemed quite delighted and 
proud of his horse. 

When we quitted the natives, we directed our course to the 
head of the Barwon River. This river is about two miles wide. 
There are breakers on each side of the heads, like Port Phillip, 
but it appeared to me that there was a channel in the centre. We 
then proceeded through a fair country, near the margin of the 
river, until we arrived at a flat, where the river is at least eight or 
nine miles wide. At this flat there are some very good native 
wells, called Yau-Yan. We dined at this place, and continued our 
course near the river, until we had crossed over a very extensive 
marsh on the banks of the Barwon, the extremity of No. 16. We 
stopped at this place all night, and shot some wildfowls, which 
we had for our supper. Tom shot a large musk duck, which 
Buckley had for his supper. 

February 6th. We started this morning about six o'clock, and 
when we had got out of the marsh, we saw Geelong Harbour, and 
ascertained that the distance from the harbour at the neck was 
not more than four miles. We continued our course upon some 
high land until we had reached the junction of the Yalloak and 
Barwon Rivers. We then descended into a marsh on the Yalloak, 
left our horses there, crossed the Yalloak by a native track over a 
large tree, and went across to the Barwon, to a spot called 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 293 

Buckley's Falls, where there is a large basin, and the river some- 
what resembles the cataract and basiu at Launceston, but upon a 
Smaller scale. Buckley showed us the hollow tree in which he 
used to live and the places where the natives used to catch the fish 
in the winter season. Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Leake, Mr. Robertson, 
myself, and Mr. Malcolm crossed over the cataract for the purpose 
of examining the Barrabool Hills, which had presented a most 
inviting appearance in our progress up the Barwon River. We 
passed over about eight or nine miles, and kept upon the high 
grounds, in order that we might see the surrounding country. We 
found the herbage to be very good, and I think the best sheep 
country we had passed over, and I believe the other gentlemen 
were of the same opinion. We were compelled to cross the Bar- 
Avon at the same spot, and I should think from the appearance 
of the country that the Barwon is a deep river, about 60 feet wide 
for many miles up ; in the winter a large body of water passes 
down it. 

We then crossed the Yalloak and dined, and proceeded about 
twelve miles further up the river, for the purpose of inspecting 
the country, and also searching for tracks of sheep, but without 
success. We stayed in a small marsh on the banks of the Yalloak 
that night. The river at this part is only a small running stream. 
Having a few spare potatoes, we planted them in this marsh near 
the fire. 

February 7th. As soon as we made the rising ground this 
morning we took an observation of the Villamanata and Anakie 
Hills, and we found that they were not correctly laid down. We 
then proceeded direct for the Anakie Hills. We passed over a 
tract of very fine land, and found some waterholes at the foot of 
the Anakie, and the herbage for miles round, and even up to the 
top, of the finest description. We reached the summit of the 
highest hill, from which we had a beautiful view of the land, 
extending up towards the Exe, which appeared to be very fine 
and well timbered ; also of the Barrabool Hills, and of the land in 
and about Geelong. We descended on the north side, passed 
along flat land between the Anakie and Villamanata, and left 
them four miles on the right. We then came upon the Debackarite, 
which enabled me to continue the chain of ponds, and where we 

294- Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

dined ; and after dinner we rode across to Captain Swanston's 
station, which we reached at sundown. 

February 8th. We passed this morning over to the upper part 
of No. 12, in order to continue the chain of ponds which we traced 
up to and over No. 11. We dined at the stock hut at the ford, and 
after dinner passed about five miles along the side line of No. 9' 
and then made an angle across to the settlement, which we 
reached ahout four p.m., and found that no vessel had arrived 
during our absence. In the evening some of the natives came to 
the settlement and reported that a ship was coming in ; they also 
made us understand that they had tracked us on the beach and 
followed us many miles, and they had also seen the places where 
we had slept. 

February 9th. At daylight this morning we heard the report 
of guns from the ship, and shortly afterwards the natives reported 
that a vessel was at anchor, with three masts ; and, concluding it 
was the Caledonia, Mr. Furgesson went down the river with Mr. 
Batman's boat. About eleven o'clock Captain Symers, of the 
Caledonia, came up to the settlement. I then arranged with him 
for a passage to George Town, and to be on board on Saturday 
afternoon at two o'clock. Mr. Furgesson, Mr. Leake, Mr. 
Robertson, myself, Linfield, and Stewart, one of the Sydney 
natives, left the settlement for the purpose of proceeding to the 
northward and exploring that part of the country. We took 
with us four days' supplies and only two guns. My object in 
taking Stewart was to prevent the possibility of any collision 
with the natives, and that he might act as an interpreter. We 
proceeded in a straight line through the lands reserved for the 
settlement, and over No. 9. In passing over No. 9 we crossed a 
chain of ponds, extending a little to the N.W. When we had 
reached the extremity of No. 9, and were upon No. 7, it was 
nearly dark. We observed a tier of sheep hills to the right, and 
concluded that we should find water at the foot, and we accordingly 
moved to the right and passed over about four miles of very fine 
land, and just at dusk came upon a chain of ponds, as we expected, 
where we stayed all night. 

February 10th. We started this morning at daylight, leaning 
to the right, and ascending the sheep hills, so that we might be 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 295 

enabled to obtain an extensive view to the north-east. We 
travelled in this direction about four miles, and from the summit 
of the hill we had an extensive view of the country composing 
Nos. 3 and 4 and part of 8. The country appeared rather thickly 
wooded towards No. 4, and particularly so over No. 8 ; and we 
were enabled clearly to trace the course of the River Yarra 
Yarra by the white fog. We then proceeded in a westerly 
direction until we came to the chain of ponds, which I had par- 
ticularly traced through No. 8, and the line of which I was then 
enabled to continue. This chain of ponds I considered to be 
within a mile of the side line between No. 7 and No. 6. The 
country and pasturage are here very fine, and present a desirable 
spot for an homestead. 

As I intended to come back over Nos. 1 and 2, and within a few 
miles of this spot, I marked down on the chart two sugar-loaf hills. 
The weather was exceedingly hot this day, and we rested under a 
blanket tent for some hours at the ponds. In the afternoon we 
proceeded in a westerly course over a continuation of plains. 
We then ascended a rise, and from the summit obtained one of the 
most beautiful views I ever saw, commanding a full view of the 
junction near the settlement, the bay, Geelong, Villamanata, and 
the Barrabool Hills. I think it must have been from this spot Mr. 
Hume had the first view of Port Phillip. After taking observa- 
tions and the bearings of these several places on the chart, we 
continued our course over No. 6 until we reached the Saltwater 
Eiver, or the River Arndell, as called by Mr. Hume. We found 
the laud lightly timbered, and fully equal to our expectations as to 
quality. The country near the river is hilly and full of glens, and 
is well calculated for an extensive sheep run. We continued our 
course on the high ground, and near the river, for about five miles, 
and then descended into a small marsh near Gumm's Corner, 
where we stayed all night. 

February llth. We this morning crossed the Saltwater River, 
and took a westerly direction to the summit of a flat-topped hill, 
which Stewart stated was the hill from which Mr. Batman saw the 
native fires upon his first visit, and which he called Mount Iramo. 
We then proceeded over a running stream which nearly divides 
No. 5. We were detained some time, waiting for Mr. Furgesson, 

296 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

whose horse had lost a fore shoe. When he reached me, I told 
him that as we were limited to time, it was necessary we should 
push on, and I proposed that he should mount Stewart's horse, 
and that Stewart should lead his horse to the settlement. My 
object in doing this was to afford him the opportunity of inspect- 
ing No. 1 and 2, in order that he might report thereupon to Capt. 
Swanston ; and to accomplish this purpose, I should have 
deprived myself of Stewart's assistance. Mr. Furgesson, without 
even thanking me for the offer, observed that the black men 
were very careless, and that he should not trust his horse with 

Stewart had hitherto carried a double-barrelled gun for the 
protection of the party. Mr. Fergusson called to Stewart to 
give him the gun, and he then wished me " good morning." 
During the whole of our journey through the bush the fires had, in 
every instance, been produced from the phosphoric matches, which 
Mr. Furgesson had ; independent of which he also carried a steel 
with prepared punk. I felt much surprised at his conduct, and 
not knowing whether we might experience any difficulty in ob- 
taining fire, I said to him, " If you leave us, what shall we do 
without your matches ?" He simply replied, " Oh, you will 
have no difficulty in obtaining fire," and rode away and left me. 
At this time we were not more than 22 miles from his tent. 
Mount Cotterill was in full view, and he could easily have reached 
home that afternoon. 

We then proceeded N.W. about two miles, and as we were 
desirous of seeing the land to the westward, we left our horses 
with the servants, and ascended the summit of the Sugar-loaf Hill, 
about half a mile distant. We had now only a single-barrelled 
gun for our protection. We then altered our course nearly due 
north, and passed over some very good plains ; and near the foot 
of a tier of hills we crossed over two or three rivulets, at one of 
which we dined. We then came to a forest of gum and stringy- 
bark, and having ridden about a mile and a half, we then altered 
our course and proceeded due east. On our way from the forest 
to the line extending to the Villamanata Hills, we passed over two 
other creeks, which appeared to flow in a southerly direction ; we 
continued our course until Ave again reached the Saltwater River. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 297 

The land of No. 1 is very good, aud is well watered ; we 
crossed three chains of ponds, about three miles distant from each 
other. We stayed on the banks all night, and as we did not 
reach the river till near dark and were fatigued, we did not put 
up any hut or breakwind. About twelve at night we had a heavy 
thunder-storm, and by two o'clock we were all wet through. 

February 12th. Mr. Leake and myself had slept upon the 
hills to avoid the mosquitoes, and when we had descended into 
the bottom, we found the fire almost out. We roused the party, 
and were at length, with the greatest difficulty, enabled to make 
the fire burn. It continued burning till daylight, and we then 
dried our clothes, had some hot tea, crossed the river, and pro- 
ceeded on our journey. We now altered our course for the 
purpose of passing between the two hills which I had marked 
down on the 10th ; and we arrived at the spot within a few 
minutes of the time we expected, so that the chart must be 
correctly laid down, and also our observation upon it. 

About one mile from the river we came upon a most beautiful 
vale, extending, apparently, several miles to the northward, and 
extending over part of No. 6 and 7. This vale contains about 
20,000 acres of the richest quality and of the finest herbage 
I ever saw, and, in my opinion, far superior to any of the land 
upon No. 9 or any of the sections. We found the continuation of 
the rivulet, and that it wound round the flat-topped hill, thereby 
affording a most eligible situation for a homestead. We then con- 
tinued our course to another hill, near the margin of No. 7, which 
we passed over, and from this hill we had the opportunity of 
proving the correctness of the hills marked down by observation. 

We then continued our course about eight miles over fine feed- 
ing land, and came upon a rapid stream of water, flowing, like all 
the other rivers, from the north to south. We called this river the 
River Plenty, as it is the only stream, except the River Barwon, 
deserving the name of river. We dined at this river, and after 
proceeded about one mile down it in order to form an opinion as 
to its course, and as we were desirous of reaching, if possible, the 
River Yarra Yarra that afternoon, we then crossed the river and 
made an easterly course through forest land about six miles, and 
until we came upon another rapid stream, flowing in a southerly 
direction, and which it was impossible to cross in consequence of 

298 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

the hills and scrub. We then proceeded about a mile S.E., when 
we were again stopped by a small stream, and found the land very 
boggy. After proceeding about half a mile S. and one mile W. 
along a high ridge, we determined to cross, if possible, the stream, 
and which after much labour we accomplished ; but finding it impos- 
sible to continue our course, and the laud between us and the 
Yarra Yarra being very heavy and thickly wooded, we were 
compelled again to re-cross the last stream ; and as it was near 
six in the evening, with an appearance of rain, we thought it 
most prudent to halt for the night, and put up a strong and secure 
tent to protect us from the wet. 

February 13th. When we awoke this morning we found to our 
dismay that the horses, with the exception of one mare, which had 
been tethered out, were missing. In about an hour Stewart re- 
turned, informing us that he had discovered the tracks, and that the 
horses were all gone. We were under an engagement to return to 
the settlement by twelve o'clock, and we calculated that we were 
distant about seventeen miles in a straight line. We got our 
breakfast, and packed all the saddles upon the horse which had 
been tethered out, and then proceeded in search of the horses by 
following their tracks. And here the instinct of that noble 
animal was most powerfully exhibited. The horses had been a 
circuit of at least 120 miles ; they had never been within ten miles 
of the spot where we were stationed that night ; and yet, instead 
of proceeding back upon their tracks, the horses made a direct 
course for the settlement round the hills, with as much care and 
sagacity as could have been manifested had they been led by a 
native. We followed the tracks about seven miles, and until we 
came upon the banks of the River Plenty, where we found the 
horses grazing. We then saddled them, crossed the river, and 
continued the course to th'e settlement, which we reached at five 
minutes past twelve. Upon my arrival at the settlement I found 
about 150 natives, and I learnt with much concern that an 
act of aggression had been committed upon one of the women, 
which required my immediate attention. Without waiting to 
refresh myself or refit, I proceeded to the native huts, and ordered 
the persons supposed to be implicated to be brought down. 
I found a young woman, about 22, lying on the ground, covered 
over with a kangaroo-rug, and suffering from a violent contusion 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 299" 

on the back part of her head, and which I understood had been 
inflicted upon her by her husband. It appeared that she was one 
of three wives, and that the tribe had lately been on the Saltwater 
River and near the shepherds' hut on No. 10 ; that this woman 
was proceeding towards the settlement to see her mother, and fell 
in with one of the shepherds, who laid hold of her, brought her 
to the hut, tied her hands behind her, and kept her there all 
night, and either that night or the next morning abused her person. 
When she reached the settlement she communicated to her friends 
the injury she had sustained, and they immediately apprised 
Buckley of it, expecting to obtain redress. The natives are par- 
ticularly jealous respecting their women ; and they consider any in- 
tercourse of this kind as a contamination, and in every case punish 
the woman frequently even to death. The natives men, women, 
and children assembled around me. I explained to them, through 
Buckley, our determination, in every instance, to punish the white 
man, and to protect the natives to the utmost of our power ; but 
we were not allowed to beat them, as they had the woman, but 
would send them to their own country to be punished. The 
woman was then raised, and the two men placed before her, and 
Buckley asked her if either of those men had ill-treated her 
person. She replied, " No " ; and I then inquired whether she 
had ever seen them before. She replied, " Yes," they were in 
the hut when the other man brought her in with her hands 
tied. I then inquired of the overseer, and found that a third 
man was at the hut, but had not been brought down. I then ex- 
plained to the two men the wickedness of their conduct, and how 
justly they would be punished if the natives had inflicted an 
injury upon them, and gave orders that as soon as fresh shepherds 
could be obtained, they should be removed from the settlement, 
under the terms of their indentures. I directed the other man 
to be immediately sent for, and if the woman identified him as 
the aggressor, that he should be removed from the settlement by 
the first ship, and be publicly taken away as a prisoner. I directed 
Buckley to explain to the whole tribe the course 1 which I had 
directed to be pursued, and I could perceive by the expression 
of their countenances that they were highly satisfied. I then 

1 The MS. in the possession of the Trustees of the Public Library ends here, and the 
following passages are printed from the imperfect copy of Gellibrand's Journal, given in 
vol. III. of the Transactions of the Philosophical Society of Victoria. ED. 

300 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

endeavoured to make the poor woman understand how much I com- 
miserated with her situation, and I tied round her neck a red silk 
handkerchief, which delighted her exceedingly. 

All of the party 

and we all went in the Captain's boat to the mouth of the river, 
and reached the ..... 

16th February. By daylight this morning we were visited on 
board by four of our own tribe, in Mr. Batman's whale-boat. The 
natives appeared much pleased with their visit and surprised at 
the appearance of the vessel. They remained on board about a 
quarter of an hour, when having obtained a supply of biscuit, they 
left us. At o'clock, the vessel was under weigh . 

. and proceeded towards 

the sea. Mr. Escoart came to anchor near the settlement at 
Indented Head, When we were near Arthur's Seat it became 
necessary to work the vessel through a narrow passage about four 
miles long. This passage is not more than a mile and a half wide 
in some places, and the >. 

in the evening, so that the Captain was afraid to proceed to sea 
that night, lest we should be driven upon Cape Otway, and, in 
consequence, came to anchor about three miles from the Heads, 
under the lee of the land. 

17 th February. We got under weigh at daylight, and made 
a safe passage between the Heads of Port Phillip 

about eleven o'clock at night we reached White's Hotel at 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 301'> 


The natives are a fine race of men, many of them handsome in; 
their persons, and all well made. They are strong and athletic, 
very intelligent, and quick in their perceptions 

preparing meat. . . The women, and especially 

the young ones, are particularly modest in their behaviour, and' 
also in their dress. They all appear to be well disposed, and very 
fond of bread and potatoes. In the winter season they live prin- 
cipally on fish and game. Upon the 

appearance of the country, I feel persuaded that they must 
exert themselves considerably in obtaining subsistence, and from 
their extreme partiality to bread and potatoes, I feel not the 
slightest doubt but that they may be all brought to habits of 
industry and civilization, when the mode of obtaining potatoes 
and wheat 

country is generally . . open, flat, champaign 

country, with abundance of verdure, and well watered. It far 
exceeds my expectations, although I was prepared to expect some- 
thing very superior. I consider the representations of Mr. Batman 
fully borne out, and from the account given by Buckley, I am dis- 
posed to believe ..... 

I this day 

settlement at Port Phillip, having taken a trip over in the 
Adelaide with some of my sheep; I found the young woman before 
spoken of living at the settlement with her husband and his other 
wives. She had quite recovered from the contusion, and her hus- 
band was again reconciled to her. 

302 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

No. 58. 

g IR Melbourne, April 24th 1854. 

Enclosed is the account you favoured me by asking for. I 
have no doubt that most of its contents Your Excellency will not 
be interested in the least about. I found it necessary to go back 
a long time to arrive at the dates, having none of my books and 
papers with me, and I have been disappointed in getting from the 
Custom-house records at Launceston the information required on 
that head, in consequence of the dismissal of the officer to whom I 
wrote to furnish it. 

I regret I cannot at present go to Launceston and make the 
search. I have no doubt the local newspapers of the date would 
make mention of my early trip also. 

Trusting you will excuse the very imperfect manner that I 
complied with your request, 

I remain, 

Your obliged servant, 

His Excellency Governor La Trobe. 

In the month of November 1831, became master of the 
schooner Elizabeth, of Launceston, owned by Mr. John Griffiths, 
and bound on a sealing voyage to the N.-W. Islands. 

Early in December we landed on the Lawrence rocks, Portland 
Bay, where we were joined by a boat's crew left there the year 
before, they having procured nearly 400 skins. Proceeding to- 
wards Kangaroo Island, anchored on the 16th in Guichen Bay ; 
landing on Baudin's rocks killed 30 seals, leaving one man with 
a supply of water and provisions until our return. Anchored in 
Nepean Bay on the 20th, and procured from the Salt Lagoon five 
tons of salt ; bought 150 skins (seal) and 12,000 wallaby skins 
from the islanders. 

These islanders were principally men who had left various 
sealing vessels when on their homeward voyage, the masters 
readily agreeing to an arrangement by which they secured for the 
.next season all the skins obtained during their absence. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 303 

This island-life had a peculiar charm for the sailors, being sup- 
plied from the ship with flour, tea, sugar, tobacco, and a few slops, 
and living generally in pairs on the shore of one of the little bays. 
They cultivated a small garden to supply them with potatoes, 
onions, and a small patch of barley for their poultry. They thus 
led an easy, independent life, as compared with that on board ship. 
They obtained wives from the mainland ; these attended to the 
wallaby snares, caught fish, and made up the boat's crew when 
on a sealing excursion to the neighbouring rocks. At Kangaroo 
Island, there were some sixteen or eighteen of these men. On a 
certain day, once a year, they assembled from all parts of the 
island to meet the vessel in Nepean Bay, and dispose of their 
skins, getting a supply in return for the following year, the only 
money required being a sovereign or two for making earrings. 

There was another class of men, also, who probably had escaped 
from Van Diemen's Land ; these lived generally on islands apart 
from the others, some on Thistle Island, near Port Lincoln, 
and other islands in Spencer's Gulf, and there was one man who 
had been unvisited for three years when I saw him on this trip. 
This man lay under the suspicion of having murdered his original 
companions. He had two wives, whose woolly heads clearly 
showed their Van Diemen's Land origin. 

Although so long without supplies, he had every comfort about 
him. A convenient stone house, good garden, small wheat and 
barley paddocks, with pigs, goats, and poultry, made him quite 
independent of the vessel, except for tea and tobacco. He had 
collected 7,000 wallaby skins of a kind peculiar to this island 
very small, fine-furred, and beautifully mottled in colour. I sold 
these in Sydney for the China market. Returning to Launceston 
in February 1832, I was first employed to take Mr. Sinclair's 
whaling party to Twofold Bay, and afterwards in the Sydney trade. 

November 3rd, proceeded on a second sealing trip, landing on 
almost every rock between Bass's Straits and Doubtful Island 
Bay ; returned to Launceston after a very successful trip in 
March 1833. My mate, Mr. Dutton, appointed the chief headsman 
of the first fishing in Portland Bay ; employed attending on these 
whalers. Whales so plentiful that, on my visiting the Bay in 
June, I found all the casks full, and the men putting oil into pits 

3 04 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

they had made in the clay. Out of 100 tons thus dealt with a 
very small quantity was saved. I took the first cargo of oil from 
Portland on this occasion. Port Fairy was visited about three 
years before by the cutter of that name, commanded by Mr. 

Mr. E. Henty made his first visit to Portland with me, 
returning to Launcestou the same voyage. 

November. Fitted for my third sealing voyage, which was 
extended to Cape Leeuwin; on this voyage we anchored in the 
Harbour of Middle Island; discovered close to the beach a lagoon 
containing fine salt, in such quantities that we took on board 20 
tons in three days. On this voyage also I was on the plain 
where Adelaide now stands; and also discovered the dangerous 
reef off Cape Jaffa. Returned to Launceston in March 1834. 
Two fisheries in Portland Bay this year. Voyage to Hokianga, 
New Zealand. 

October. Brought Griffiths's party of whalers from Port- 
land. Employment having to be found for these men during 
the summer, to prevent them being employed by the opposition 
fishing party, took a number of them on an expedition to 
strip bark. 

Left Launceston the latter end of November, having on board 
a team of bullocks, a dray, and some twenty men besides the 
crew. Entered the Heads of Western Port the beginning of 
December; anchored under Phillip's Island; saw the place where a 
settlement had been; ruins of houses and workshops, with broken 
crockery, &c.; the land here was bad, and there were no wattle 
trees. Stood up the harbour ; surprised to find the deep-water 
channel marked with beacons on each side. Anchored abreast of the 
ruins of another settlement ; landed the men and team. Here were 
the remains of houses and gardens grass very abundant, and the 
wattle trees the largest I had ever seen. Employed for a fortnight 
collecting bark; saw the traces of numerous cattle; shot a large 
white bull. 

Finding the bark so abundant, I loaded the schooner and 
proceeded to Sydney, leaving the shore party behind; sold my 
cargo to a ship bound to London, and chartered the ship Andro- 
meda to load bark in Western Port for London. Put on board 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 305 

Mr. Thorn (my mate) as pilot and supercargo. She arrived there 
in April 1835. In the meantime I proceeded to Launceston and 
gave an account of my trip, first to my owner and Mr. Conolly ; 
afterwards to a number of persons assembled in the billiard-room 
of the Cornwall Hotel, among whom were Mr. Fawkner, Messrs. 
Geo. and John Evans, and, I think, Mr. Batman. I spoke in 
high terms of the land and the grass ; instanced the sign of the 
mimosa trees as a proof of the one, and the condition of the wild 
cattle as the result of the other. 

When, however, the Andromeda arrived to get her clearance 
at the Custom-house of Launceston, the fame of the place was 
spread far and wide by the returned bark cutters. Many of these 
were farming men born in Van Diemen's Land, and they at once 
saw the advantages of this beyond that of their own country. 

The cargo of the Andromeda was consigned to John Gore and 
Co., of London, through Mr. Conolly, and sold for about 13 per 

I brought vast numbers of black swans, which we had pulled 
down while moulting ; the waters of Western Port were covered 
with these birds. 

In December 1835 I sailed as a passenger to London, and 
while there gave evidence to some of the South Australian Com- 
missioners on the subject of the coast and lands of that province. 
I furnished sailing directions for Colonel Light, then about to 
leave in the Rapid. I related to Colonel Torrens the fact that 
the Port Lincoln natives circumcised their males in a very extra- 
ordinary manner, although the tribes round had no such custom. 

In September I sailed from London for Launceston, taking 
with me as passengers several of the now old South Australian 
settlers, who, on my suggestion, went to Van Diemen's Land, in 
the first instance, to select their stock, &c., to take with them. 

In November 1837 I undertook to drive a herd of cattle from 
Portland to Adelaide ; these cattle I had originally bought from 
Mr. Dutton, in Sydney, to be delivered in Portland. I had shipped 
a large number during the previous six months. The remainder, 
about 500 head, I started with from Darlot's Creek. My party 
consisted of Mr. Pullen, who had been my chief officer (now, I 
believe, Captain Pullen, R.N., of the North Star), and nine men. 


306 Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

I arrived at Mr. S. Winter's station on the Wannou on the 
3rd, and for a week was employed exploring to the westward 
of the Glenelg, with a view of making a direct course to 
Adelaide. Finding, however, no water, I determined to make 
the Murray by Major Mitchell's road. I had, however, greater 
difficulties to overcome than I expected. It was a season of 
extraordinary drought. Many waterholes were dry, in the 
bottoms of which we found the large monster mussels lying 
putrid. I was obliged, therefore, to leave the Major's road for 
the purpose of procuring water ; his object at the season in which 
he passed being to avoid it. 

I arrived on the Murray, near Mount Hope, early in January 
1838, and, travelling down the stream, crossed the river about 
fifteen miles below the Darling. At this place the depth of 
water did not exceed eighteen inches on a sandy bottom. As a 
nautical man I felt great interest in this river, and saw at once 
that it would be navigable for a great portion of the year, possibly 
for the whole year, in ordinary seasons. I observed that the 
cause of the shallows was the river having to cross in its course 
to the westward the pine sand ridges that run north and south, 
and, therefore, when the river is full, in these places, it increases 
its width and brings a fresh supply of sand into its bed ; no 
deepening, therefore, will avail here, and it appears to me the only 
improvement that could be made would be to narrow the channel 
artificially with clay or wood, the expense of which would make 
it impossible to be done for ages to come. 

Nothing struck me so much on this river as the splendid 
' timber that grows on its banks ; I never saw anything equal to 
it for shipbuilding purposes. 

I arrived in Adelaide, March 1st, without the loss of a beast,.- 
and on the 3rd sailed to Launceston to ship the whalers for 
Encounter Bay. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 




(Geelony District.) 


- Mdrg. 


- Bon. 


- Ngarmoork. 


- Kareep. 

Forehead - 

- Maan. 


- Barn. 


- Myrr. 


- Mdrg-i-dinang 

Eyebrow - 

- Ngar-i-maan(^\a.\\ 

(head of the 

of forehead), or 




- Tiring-matuh. 

Eyelash - 

- Tarad-i-myrr. 




- TiJr-i-myrr (dew 


- Waning. 

of the eye) 


- Munder. 


- Kang. 


- Moonmoot. 


- Wor-ro. 


- Ngobeet. 


- Waeng. 


- Kurk. 


- Wering. 

Thunder - 

. Turnbil. 


- Liang. 

Lightning - 

- Morineuk. 


- Weerbeng. 

Rainbow - 

- Tyerm. 


- Tel-ling. 


- Meree. 


- Ngurnduk. 


- Yern. 


- KfJrrt. 


- Toorbernr.en. 


- Murna. 


- Wieng. 

Thumb - 

- Ngardung-i-mur- 


- La. 

na (mother of 

To-day - 

- Merio. 

the hand). 


- Iramneu. 

Palm of the hand Dong-i-murna 


- Tallio. 

(stomach of the 

Day after 

to- Yey-yeram. 



Fore finger 

- Wernwern-milurk. 

Day before 

yes- Yey-tallic. 

Little finger 

- Bab-ban-nuke. 



- Turooh. 

Morning - 

- Kurdineu. 

Shoulder - 

- Ngam. 


- Bary-meri. 


- Kangan. 

Twilight - 

- Talli-talli. 


- Pnllot. 


- Mor gal-leu. 

Stomach - 

- Dong. 

Midnight - 

- Barji-morgal. 


- Dinang. 

Evil spirit - 

- Kotyul. 


- Lorg. 


- BootQ-ftoong-gari. 

In this vocabulary a is pronounced as in mate, i as in the French aim^, and 6 as in home. 

X 2 


Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


One - - Koimott. 



Two - - Boolitt. 



Three - - Kurt-go-rin. 



Four - - Boolite-ba-boolite. 



Plenty - - Wurdy-yulyul. 



Wife - - Goork. 

Mountain - 


Husband - - Golli. 



Father - - Pect-ya-rik. 

Mosquito - 


Mother - - Ngurduny. 



Sister - - Burm-ba-rook or 


Mooger-mooger . 




Aunt - - Bubarong. 



Brother or Friend Tati, Koki, Meli, 






Elder brother - Weng-ut. 


Mai -to or Burr a - 

Baby - Poup-poup. 


Tree - - Piei. 



Gum-tree - - Gheran. 



Cherry-tree - Kiraneuk. 



Native cherry - Baloitt. 



She-oak, or Shiac NgarG (hair-tree) 

Very good 

M erra-da-by-io or 

Tea- tree - - Boono. 


Spear - - Karp or Derg. 



Spear shield - Malga. 



Boomerang - Woomerra. 

Bashful - 


Boomerang shieldGwram. 



Waddy - - Liangwil or Gor. 



Tomahawk - Karkain. 



Opossum cloak - Wallurt-wallurt. 



Nose ornament - Note-kang. 

Sad, mournful - 


Band for head - Bukirn. 



Doctor - - Wirirrup. 



Emu - - Karwir. 



Kangaroo - - Ko-im. 

Powerful, strong 


Young kangaroo Kunyul. 


Boonboon dirin 

Old kangaroo - Woring-woring. 


Bandicoot - Bo. 

Jumping - 


Kangaroo-rat - Barook. 

Whistle - 

War ok booming. 

Swan - - Konowar. 



Turkey - - Tarawil. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 



Where have you come from ? - 

Where have you been this long time ? 

Where are you going? 

Don't go away .... 

I am going now - 

I am going to-morrow 

I will come back soon ... 

Why did you go away ? - 

Why do you slay here ? - - - 

Go away ---... 

Stay here, sit down - ... 

Be quiet, go .and work 

Come, be quick .... 

What's your name ? - 

I am very tired - 

I am sick 

I am sulky (or angry) 

I am hungry 

You laugh too much - 
You are joking 

Go and sleep 

Are you hungry ? - 

Are you frightened ? 

This is my young wife 

This is my husband 

This is my child .... 

What are you doing ? - - - 

I am going to make my hut 

Come, make a fire - - - - 

Will it rain ? 

Where is there any water ? 
Have you anything to eat ? 
Where are you going to stay ? - 
I am going to catch fish - 
Go and get some fish 
Where is there any kangaroo ? - 
I am very weary - 
Where is your opossum cloak ? 
I did not take it 

It was not I 

Tell the other natives to come here - 
Where are the native huts ? 
Are yon going to fight ? - 

Winyong ngat korika ? 
Mywan goreek ? 
Weear wor ne yo ? 
Ngalahak yanni yo. 
Yanni wan. 
Yanni wnn iramneu. 
Ma will & wan. 
Konde weeny er rat? 
Kond6 weenyer rat bourdya neen f 
Yanni mat, or Yangad ya wat. 
Mdk bdrd, ko rah at. 
Yanni, kormd, hormi. 
Winnyar rat ? 
Dermil inyan. 
Moorat war-war. 
Toornin yan. 
Myr e yilt. 
Malard yon. 
Moeyo mi I in yat. 
Gong bad ye wan. 
Mirang in ? 
Ktt nar ngalbaleen ? 
Ngam a book. 
Ngam a boom. 
Winyer er yo mo 9 
Ngar wille ate karong a. 
Toortkal6 wadaik weing ik. 
Wadd6 munder toolkilin ? 
Weourwooreen werra ngomf 
Gonan kotyereen ? 
Weear wooreen not ? 
Yanno wife kiang goorta. 
Yann6 yok wira binya. 
Weear wallo wooreen koim f 
Tata komong ngiting ta-a. 
Weourwooreen wallurt-wallurt T 
J\ 'galakaknong komoring. 
Borak kong. 
Keka wat teunin. 
Weear kadyong gir-ba f 
Ko nat peet-yure"? 


Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

D i A LOO UE continued. 

I am going away to fight - - - Yanni wite peet yure wony. 

Do not make a noise - - - Nyalagare toorne. 

You went away, I did not see you - Goormawar, ngala kak nin naring. 
Will there be a"corrobery" to-night? Ngar6 millywat morgalleu ? 

When will there be new moon ? - Weearbai woorneen kalkdrn yern? 

When will there be full moon ? - Weearbai woorneen borfxla yern ? 

Exclamation of astonishment - - Kardung wah .' 

Exclamation of pain - - - Ya-ki ! 





Tama kuiner. 






Moorat dong (pain in 


(standiug up). 











Yaybo borne. 

(one cane spear). 
Barney wulurn. 
Tr6 wernuwil 

(foam of waterfall). 
Torraoeuk (heart). 

(long foot). 

Boys : 

Waraduk (stormy 

Niramying-ying (loud 

Wirma murna neuk. 

Toort kang. 




Tarawil (turkey). 



Toortaderemy - dy on . 


(large high cap). 
Moordy ngor-ngor. 
Kolarn (locust). 
Tromneuk (claw of 

emu's foot). 
Maan gyarong. 

Wurdy-mura neuk. 
Boolitengel (two 

Boonga torui neuk. 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 



Women : 


Burdghea geurk. 











Niram-boolok (long 








Toe woork. 


Eurok-dinang (foot of 










Torort goork. 



Tirap koraneuk. 










(hyacinth girl). 

Girls : 

Kanyul-woork (young 


Mordaley-dia woork. 

kangaroo girl). 












NOTE. Abbreviations used, in., mount ; r., river; St., station ; I., lake. 

Aboriginal language, 307-310 

Aborigines, 1,2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 
16, 19, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 37, 
39, 40, 42, 43, 47, 52, 53, 55-62, 
65-100, 102-104, 108, 109-112, 
113, 114, 115, 121-124, 137, 138, 
140, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148-153, 
156, 157, 158, 160, 163, 164, 165, 
166, 170, 171, 175, 177, 178, 183, 
184, 186, 187, 188, 190, 192, 200, 
205, 207, 208, 209, 211, 216-222, 
224, 225, 226, 229, 230, 231, 235, 
236, 237, 241, 242, 245, 248, 251, 
253, 255, 257, 258, 259, 266-269, 
269-275, 277, 288, 291, 292, 298, 
299, 301 

Acacia glutinosa, 34 

Addison and Murray, Messrs., 23, 
25, 164 

Adelaide, 304 

Adelaide, ship, 11 

Affleck, Messrs., 176, 181 

Agriculture, 207, 244 

Airey, C. , 140 

Airey, J., 177 

Aitcheson, 155 

Aitken, John, 41 ; letter, 206-208 

Aitken, Robt., 20 

Aitken, m., 206, 207 

Alberton, 199, 203, 204 

Albury, 10 

Alexander, m., 7, 9, 18, 21, 41, 54 

Allan, A. M., 8, 235 

Allan, G., 232 

Allan, J., 137, 156, 189, 213 

Allanvale, 179 

Anakie hills, 15, 293 

Anderson, Col. J., 209, 228 

Anderson, A., 39, 41, 147 

Anderson, Hy., 2, 54 

Anderson, 16, 36, 136, 159, 171, 251 

Andromeda, ship, 304, 305 

Anstey, 12 

Antwerp, st., 192 

Appin, m., 17 

Arapiles, m., 9, 157, 165, 179 

Arbuckle, 132 

Archdale, M., 175, 216 

Argyle. See Booth and Argyle 

Armstrong, 36, 148 

Armytage, 251 

Armytage, Geo., 138-141 

Armytage, C. H., 164, 176 

Arndell, r.,295 

Arthur, H., 207 

Arthur's seat, 159, 207 

Arundell, W. F. H., 180 

Atkins, Wm., 227 

Atkinson. See Belcher and Atkin- 

Austin, Jas., 140, 156 

Austin, T., 139 

Australia Felix, 163, 182 

Avenel, st., 228 

Avoca, r., 9, 185, 212, 216, 224 

Avon, r., 9, 131, 196, 257, 259 

Avon, si., 190 

Aylward, 162 

Ayrey and Nichol, Messrs., 190, 191 

Bacchus, W. H., 5, 36 

Bacchus Marsh, 5 

Bagrooks, 87 

Baillie, 42 

Baillie, T., 179, 190, 191 

Baker, J., 159 

Balerook, 114 

Ballan, 63 

Ballanee, st., 19 

Ballantyne, 177 

Ballarat, 42, 136 

Ballowra, st., Ill, 180 

Balyang, 121 

Barber, G. H., 171, 187 

Bark shipped to Sydney, 305 

Barker, Dr. E., 175, 181 

Bar jang, 180 

Barnawartha, St., 187 

Barnett, E., 174 

Barrabool hills, 293 

Barrabool tribe, 4, 94, 96 ; dialect, . 
307-310 ; names of members, 310,. 

Barton, 162 

Barton, Mrs., 169 


Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

INDEX continued. 

Bar won, r., I, 3, 13, 14, 15, 16, 37, 
38, 42, 154, 292 

Bass, r., 159 

Bates, 177, 251 

Batesford, xt., 155 

Bath, E., 255 

Bathe and Perry, Messrs., 36 

Batman, H., 11 

Batman, J., 11, 12, 48, 49, 161, 182, 
206, 207, 251, 262, 276, 289, 294, 

Batman's hut, 12 

Baynton, T., 48, 53 

Beale and Trebeck, 140 

Bear, Mr., 8, 186 

Bears, superstitions about consult- 
ing, 90 

Beckwlth ranges, 41 

Beenak, 32 

Belcher and Atkinson, Messrs., 179 

Bell, 28, 29 

Bell, Ed., letter, 168-182 

Bellarme hills, 290 

Bell-post, 135 

Bell-post hill, 155 

Benboo, king, 71, 82 

Bendigo, 41 

Bennilong, aborigine, 274 

Benyeo, st. , 2 

Berrima, st., 169 

Berring, 72 

Berrookboom, 86 

Beruke, 72 

Berwool, 88 

Best, H., 182 

Bet-Bet creek, 8 

Beveridge, A., 145, 158 

Beveridge's flat, 209 

Bill, aborigine, 178 

Billabong country, 240 

Billbolary, 70, 73 

Bil-li-bel-la-ry, 70, 73, 98 

Billy, king. See King William 

Billy Billy, 166 

Binbeal, 86, 89 

Bingham, 188 

Binney, 171 

Birch, A., 54 

Birch, 42 

Bird catching by natives, 219 

Black, 137, 164, 232 

Black, Neil, 136, 155 

Black Dog creek, 47 

Blacks. See Aborigines 

Black station, 37 

Blackwood trees, 34 

Blair, 176, 261 

Blair, J., letter, 163-165 

Blow, 179, 213 

Blundell, Dr., 179, 213 

Bobbinary, 92 

Bobinger, 88 

Boi-Boi, 86 

Bolac, I:, 237 

Bolden, 136, 171 

Bon Jon, 122, 123, 124, 180 

Bontherambo, st., 187 

Booth and Argyle, 8, 158 

Borhoneyghurk, st., 1 

Borman, 212 

Boro Boro, 71 

Boughyards, St., 55 

Boundaries, 23, 24, 39, 50 

Bourke, Sir Richard, 16, 252 

Bowerman, 42, 54 

Bowman, 151, 205, 212 

Bowman, Wm., 52, 53, 54, 186, 187 

Boy Friday, aborigine, 255 

Boyd, Benj., 9, 189, 190, 213, 214 

Brain, 8, 186 

Bricks first used in Melbourne, 49 

Briggs, 3. 179, 212, 213, 237 

Broadford, 209 

Brock, 207 

Brodie, 146, 157, 179, 189, 190, 207 

Brodribb, 248 

Brodribb, W. A., 171, 230 

Brodribb, Albt., 130, 133 

Broken river, 47, 150, 172, 227, 228 

Bromfield, 3 

Brown, 251 

Brown, Capt., 53 

Bryan, John, 263 

Bryant, 245 

Bryant, Capt. , 53 

Bryant, Mrs., 7 

Bryant's creek, 164 

Buckley, E., 131, 255 

Buckley, Wm., 48, 49, 114, 161, 

251, 288, 291, 292, 293 
Bucknall, E. G., 8, 54 
Buckup, 71 
Buggup, 71 
Buker Bun-nel, 89 
Bullarook, st., 55 
Buller Bullup, 82 
Bullocks, 22, 23 
Bunbury, Capt., 213, 214 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


INDEX continued. 

Bungerrook, 98 

Buninyong, 37, 39, 42, 54, 139 

Buninyong ranges, 42 

Buninyong tribe, 94 

Buntingdale mission station, 176 

Bur-bor-rough, 71 

Burchett's run, 182 

Burke, R., 156 

Burnbank, 54, 63 

Burrumbeet, I., 39, 41, 42, 136 

Burrumbeet, 6,3 

Bushrangers, 234 

Butcher, Mr., 23, 25 

Byng, m., 54 

Cadden, S., 175, 181 

Cairn Curran, St., 7, 8 

Caledonia, ship, 12, 294 

Caledonia Australia, 257 

Calligan, aborigine, 148 

Cameron, Allan, 186 

Cameron, D., 54, 212 

Cameron, J. A., 179, 212 

Cameron, Alex., 186, 189 

Campaspe, r., 6, 21, 204, 211 

Campaspe tribe, 96 

Campbell, A., 232 

Campbell, A. M., letter, 143-145, 


Campbell, Chas., 159 
Campbell, Colin, letter, 223-227, 


Campbell, James, 10, 216 
Campbell, L., 8, 55, 183 
Campbell, Win., 8 
Campbell, 158, 178, 180, 186, 214 
Cannibalism, 4, 111, 183, 222, 273 
Canoe, 47 

Cape Otway ranges, 4 
Captain Jack, aborigine, 149 
Carfrae, John, 9, 10, 11, 147, 213, 


Carlsruhe, 53, 182 
Carmichael, W. and C., 164 
Carrajarmongei, st., 187 
Carter, Wm., 3 
Cashmere, st., 23, 164 
Catarrh, 7, 173, 204, 230, 234 
Cathkin, st., 208 

Cattle station, first in Victoria, 49 
Cattle, 3, 7. See also Wild cattle 
Catto, J., 8, 186 
Caves, 248 
Cay, 186 
Ceres, steamer, wreck of, 45 

Champion, 251 

Charlotte plains, st., 1 

Chetwynd, 27, 176 

Cheyne, 182 

Chirnside, Thos., letter, 233-238 

Chirnside, 54, 155, 174, 214, 232 

Chisholm, J. W., 151, 187, 235 

Chisholm, W., 227 

Circumcision practised by Port 

Lincoln natives, 305 
Clark, 143 
Clarke, Dr., 1 

Clarke, 42, 178, 179, 207,213 
Clarke, Billy, 1 
Clarke, James, 5 
Clarke, John, 208 
Clarke, W. J. T., 157 ; letter, 165- 

167, 190 

Clerk, R., 181, 182 
Clifton's morass, 257 
Climate, 237, 240 
Cloven hills, 40 
Clow, Rev., 37, 101, 250 
Clow, James, 100-107 
Clow, J. M., 107-108 
Clunes, 54, 63 
Clunie, st., 164 
Clyde Company, 38, 135, 155 
Cobbon, Johnny, aborigine, 2o5 
Cockburn, 171 

Coghill, 41, 42, 53, 54, 162, 207, 235 
Coghill, David, 52 
Coghill, W., 52 

Colac district, 3, 4, 38, 119, 139, 140 
Colac, /., 1, 138, 251 
Colac tribe, 4 
Colburn, 208 
Coldham, 263 
Cole, m., 54, 212, 222, 223 
Cole, 8 

Coliban, 20, 21, 41, 53, 182, 183 
Collyer, J. D., 143 
Coltish, Capt., 250 
Compensation, 188 
Council's run, 263 
Connewarre, .,14 
Conolly, M., 264, 305 
Consulting bears, 90 
Convicts, 63, 64 
Coonerdigum, 72 
Corangamite, 1, 251 
Corhanwarrabul, st., 101 
Corio, 14 
Corney, 22, 23, 32 


Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

INDEX continued. 

Cbrney, W., 164 

Cotter, Dr., 12, 289 

Coutts, G., 10, 186 

Cowie, A., 2, 13, 14, 42, 135, 155, 


Cowper, Jas., 8, 144, 145, 158 
Cox, John, 162, 182 
Creswick, 190 
Crown Lands Commissioners, 6, 23, 

24, 64, 116 

Cruikshank, 146, 157, 179, 189, 190 
Crutch, Thos., 139 
Culpendurra, 72 
Cumberland, ship, 172 
Cunningham, R. C., 132 
Cunningham, A. F., 155, 156 
Curlewis, 130, 132, 186 
Curlewis, J. C., 8, 144, 145, 158 
Curra Curra, 72 
Currawang, st., 254 
Cuthbert, J., 36 
Dana, Capt. H. P., 23, 73, 141, 190, 

242 ; account of, by La Trobe, 

Dandenong, 37 
Dandenong, st., 160 
Dandenong creek, 101 
Darcey, 39 
Darebin creek, 223 
Darke, 135, 138, 251 
Darling, r., 306 
Darlot, H., 191 
Darlot, 230 
Darlot, J. M., 6, 7, 9, 54, 179, 185, 

189, 190, 211, 215 
Darnell, 140 
Davenport, Mrs. F. A., specimens 

of the language of Barrabool tribe 

and names of members of the 

tribe, 307-311 
Decameron, st., 178 
Deep creek, 41, 54 
Dennis, A., J., and W., 139, 140, 


Dent, 137 
Dergholm, st., 28 
Derwent Company, 15, 16, 38, 135, 

154, 155, 156, 251 
Desailly, 159, 164, 176 
Desert, 112 
De Villiers, 37 
Devil's river, 173, 180, 228 
Dewing, F., 3, 140 
Dickson, Dr., 204 

Dight's mill, 49 

Dingo, black, 47 

Distant hill, 118 

Dobie, 105 

Docker, J., 151, 171, 187 

Dodd, Chas., 36 

Donald, J., 186, 191, 216 

Donald, 232 

Donald, J. and W., 42, 178, 212, 


Donaldson, A., 176 
Donnithorne, Judge, 21 
Doutta Galla, 11, 12, 13, 15 
Dowling forest, 42, 54, 63, 166 
Drew, J., 104 
Drought, 205 
Dryden, E., letter, 20, 21 
Dublin Jack, 147 
Duck catching, 245 
Dunlop, r., 196 
Dunrobin, st., 164 
Duttoii, 6, 54, 172, 185, 211, 230, 

303, 305 
Dwyer, 214 
Dwyer, Hy., 141 
Earthquake, 16, 105-107 
Ebden, C. H., 6, 52, 53, 146, 132 
Ebden, 21, 41, 182, 205, 207 
Eckersley, m, 263 
Eddington, 137 
Egerton, G., 2 
Elephant hill, 17 
Elephant, m., 17, 18, 19, 40 
Elizabeth, schooner, 302 
Ellerman, H., 179, 190, 192 
Elliot, 10 
Elliott, 216 

Ellis, 10, 164, 176, 185, 216 
Elms, G. W., 54 
Emu, m., 37, 42 
Emu creek, 147 
Englefield, st., 175, 181, 182 
Escoart, 300 
Eumemmering, st., 101 
Evans, Geo., 206, 207, 305 
Evans, John, 206, 207, 305 
Ewing, A., 195 
Exe, r., 289 
Eyre, E. J., 235 
Fairbairn, Geo., 9, 176, 181 
Faithful, Geo., letter, 150-154, 186, . 

187, 241 

Faithful, W. P., 171 
Farie, 136 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


INDEX continued. 

Fawkner, J. P., 11, 12, 182, 207, 

287, 289, 305 

Fawkner's Royal Hotel, 12 
Fenton, 8 
Fergusson, 13 
Ferrers, C. G., 120, 155 
Fiery creek, 23, 147 
Firebrace, Major, 9, 157, 179, 190, 

191, 192 
Fish, 241 
Fisher, 155, 251 
Fisher, David, letter, 11-19, 38, 39, 


Fishing by aborigines, 30, 40, 219 
Flat, Capt., 138 
Fletcher, 208 
Floods, 117, 223 
Flour, 170 
Foley, 186 
Foot-rot, 231 
Forbes, Rev. J., 250 
Forest creek diggings, 8, 41 
Forlonge, Andrew, 27 
Forlonge, Win., 6, 27 
Forlonge, 28 

Foster, J. F L. V., 8, 137, 216 
Foster, L., letter, 185, 186 
Fourteen-mile creek, 8 
Fowler, 171 

Frances Henty, ship, 264 
Francis, 54, 166, 212, 251 
Franklin, TO., 8 

Franks, 138, 162, 179, 207, 208 
Frazer, Major, 104 
French, A. S. J., 174 
Freshwater creek, 18 
Frost, severe, 34 
Fryer's creek diggings, 8 
Fulham, st., 164 
Fulton, J., 21 

Furgesson, 290, 294, 295, 296 
Fyans, Capt. F., 3, 6, 23, 64, Paper 

by, 114-129, 140, 175, 181, 192 
Gambler, m., 247, 264 
Game, 216 
Gardiner, 36, 279, 280, 281, 282, 

283-287, 289, 293 
Gardiner, John, 44, 45, 48, 49, 146, 

251, 253 

Gardiner's creek, 49 
Gatenby, 12 

Gawler, G., Governor of S.A., 245 
Geelong, 1, 5, 14, 15, 16, 27, 38, 

128, 135, 154, 251 

Geewar, 290 

Gellibrand, Tom, 279, 280, 281, 

282, 283 
Gellibrand, J. T., 3, 4, 12, 38, 138, 

146, 156, 208. Memorandum of 

trip to Port Phillip, 279-301 
Gellibrand, Mrs., 4 
Gellibrand, aborigine, 72 
Gellibrand, m., 140 
Gellibrand's point, 276 
Geordie, aborigine, 109 
George, 172 
George, m., 18, 19, 40 
Gibb, 180 
Gibb, M., 182 

Gibber, Jemmy, aborigine, 254 
Gibbon, Messrs., 8 
Giberuke, 72 
Gibson, 8, 174 
Gibson, M., 28, 29, 30, 158, 176, 


'Gibson, Mrs., 28, 29 
Gilmore creek, 169 
Gipps, Lady, 170 
Gippsland, 129-134, 174, 193-204, 


Gippsland natives, 37 
Gisborne, 53 
Glendaruel, ., 54, 63 
Glendinning, 176, 191 
Glendonald, st., 54, 63 
Glenelg, r., 9, 10, 23, 25, 28, 34, 

158, 164, 175, 181, 214 
Glenisla, st., 9 
Glenlyon, 62 
Glenmona, <.,7, 8, 211 
Glenorchy, 189 
Gold, 55, 186 
Goldsmith, 42 
Good, J., 137 
Goodman, 180 
Goulburn district, 180, 208 
Goulburn tribe, 96, 205 
Graham, H. F., 64 
Grampian tribe, 221 
Grampians, m., 9, 18, 19 
Grange, The, 6, 23, 174 
Grant, 179 
Grasmere, st., 137 
Grasses, 33, 34, 35 
Gray, John, 19 
Gray, W. N., 79 
Green, 5 
Green, E. B., 143 


Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

INDEX continued. 

Green hills, St., 179, 181, 182 

Greene, 145 

Greene, Mrs., 179, 181, 189 

Greenhill, at., 5, 175 

Greenock, 54 

Greenock, m., 185 

Grice, 8, 176 

Griffin, 212 

Griffin, Jos., 13 

Griffin, Dr., 54 

Griffiths, 264 

Griffiths, John, 302, 304 

Grimes, 64 

Grimes, E., 227 

Grylls, Rev., 250 

Gunbower, St., 144 

Gunbower tribe, 145 

Guy, 46 

Hall, C. B., letter, 210-222 

Hall, 8, 211, 231 

Hallett, Dr., 261 

Hamilton, 189 

Hamilton, J. M., 178, 179, 186, 191 

Hamilton, Thos-, 176 

Hamilton, Mr., 3, 42, 53, 164, 172, 

207, 212, 232 

Hamilton, W., 52, 53, 187 
Hamlyn, Dr., 209 
Harding, W., 140, 156 
Harrison, Capt., 186 
Harrison, J. , 53, 54 
Hart, John, letter, 302-306 
Hassell, 232 
Hawdon, John, 50, 54 
Hawdon, Joseph, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 

51, 52, 101, 146, 162, 212, 253 
Hay, 148 
Heape, 8, 176 
Henry, brig, 138 
Henty, Ed., 261, 304 
Henty, F., 262 
Henty, Jas., 265 
Henty, S. G., letter, 260-265 
Henty, Messrs., 20, 162, 163 
Henty, 24, 30 
Hepburn, John, 41-42; letter, 

43-64, 146, 162, 207, 235 
Hesse, 3, 4, 38, 138, 156 
Hesse, in. , 140 
Highett, 140, 156 
Highett, J., 101, 136 
Hindmarsh, I., 179, 192, 224 
Hindmarsh lake tribes, 109 
Hitchcock, 49 

Hobson, Capt.. 253 

Hobson, Ed., 159, 160 

Hodgkinson, Jas., 8, 146, 167, 1S.1 

Hodgkinson, Messrs., 212 

Holcombe, 62 

Hollo way, Jos., 227 

Hope, boat, 50 

Hope, Mr., 177 

Hope, m., 145 

Hopkins, A., 140. 156 

Hopkins, Hy., 139 

Hopkins, J. 139 

Hopkins, R., 136, 237 

Horses, 7 

Horsfall, J., 186, 191, 192 

Horsham, 157 

Hotels. See Inns 

House in Melbourne, 1835, 15- 

House, first in Geelong, 16 

Hovell, W. H., 52 

Howe, 46 

Howe, E., 227 

Howe, H., 227 

Howey, Capt., 36 

Howey, 52, 53, 162, 207 

Huber, st., 150 

Hughes, H. K., 228 

Hughes, 172, 208 

Hume, r., 187 

Hume, H., 62, 295 

Hume, 234 

Hunter, John, 180 

Hunter, A., 168, 169, 171, 172, 173., 
180, 181, 195, 209, 228, 230 

Hunter, W. M., 8 

Hunter, 212 

Huon, Chas., 10 

Hutton, C., 6, 39, 40 ; letter, 204- 
206, 229 

Hyde, 175 

Hyland, 255 

Imlay, Dr., 178, 185, 186, 212 

Indented head, 1, 13, 135, 291 

Ingleby, st., 139 

Inns, 125 

Iramo, m., 295 

Irvine, Alex., 54, 178, 185, 212, 216 

Jackson, 206, 207, 214 

Jackson, Jas., 28, 158 

Jacky, aborigine, 225 

James Watt, steamer, 16 

Jamieson, A., 173 

Jamieson, Hugh, letter on abori- 
gines, 269-275 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


INDEX continued. 

Jamieson, Robt., 36, 37, 159, 160 

Jancourt tribe, 4 

Janevale, St., 1 

Janfrone, m., 18 

Jardine, 21 

Jennings, Daniel, 6, 205 

Jim Crow hill, 8 

Jim Crow, St., 55 

Jim Crow tribe, 183 

John Bull, 73 

Johnson, 137 

Jones, 132, '200, 263 

Joyce, Messrs., 8, 212 

Kangaroo island, 303 

Karakarook, 86, 87, 88, 91 

Kardinia house, 251 

Kate, m., 17 

Kaye, W., 186 

Keene, Theo., 227 

Kelsall, Col., 136 

Kemp, 182 

Kennedy, Hon. G., 169 

Kerr, 105, 176 

Kewell, st., 191 

Killamaine, 20 

Kilmore, 2(J9 

King William, 225 

King, L, 198 

King Parrot creek, 204 

Kinlochewe, 172, 209 

Kinnear, R. H., 19 

Kirk, W., 54, 213 

Kirk, 232, 237 

Kirkland, 42 

Knight, 56-59 

Knowles, 174, 214 

Konongwootong, 164 

Kookinberrook, 86 

Koorootyngh, 61 

Koot Narin, st., 164, 176 

Korangamite. See Corangamite 

Kuller Kullup, 98 

Kul-pen-dure, 72 

Kunewarra, 87 

Kur-rek Kur-rek, 72 

Kuur-rook, 87 

Lachlan, r., 243 

Lady Augusta, steamer, 143 

Land sale, 1840, first, 263 

Lang, J. D., 168 

Lang, 164, 212 

Langdon, 8 

Langhorne, A., 101, 160 

Langi-Coorie, st., 7 

La Trobe, C. J., account of Capt. 

Dana, 266-269 
La Trobe, r. , 194, 258 
Leake, 279, 280, 281-287, 293, 2!M, 


Learmonth, 260 
Learmonth, Dr., 155 
Learmouth, Messrs., 2, 212, 251 
Learmonth, Thos., 15; letter, 37- 

43, 54 

Ledcourt, st., 9, 147, 190, 191 
Leigh, st., 147 

Leigh, r, 2, 14, 15, 38, 54, 63, 154 
Leigh tribe, 4 
Le Man, 37 
Lettsom, Major, 188 
Leura, m., 136 
Lewequeen, aborigine, 31 
Lewis, Geo., 32 
Lewis, 181 
Lillgoner, 89 
Linfield, 289, 294 
Linlithgow, I., 237 
Little river, 165 
Lloyd, A., 3 
Lloyd, G. F., 3 
Lloyd, 140, 251 
Locke, W. J., 180 
Loddon, r., 7, 8, 9, 21, 41, 54, 62,. 

183, 186, 211, 215,235 
Loddon tribe, 96, 221 
Long Yarra, aborigine, 31 
Longerenong, 191 
Longlands, st., 176 
Lonsdale, Capt., 49, 101, 252, 253 
Loughnan, J. M., 130, 132 
Love, 191 

Lynott, 178, 185, 211, 212 
Macalister, L., 255 
Macalister, M., 255, 259 
Macalister, 131, 132, 196, 258 
Macarthur, r., 196 
McCallum, A., 8, 145, 185, 186, 212r 
McCrae, Dr., 37, 101 
McCulloch, 263 
McCulloch, Thos., 23, 32, 164 
Macdonald, Dr., 164 
McDonald, W., 227 
McDougall, 144 
Macedon, m., 21, 41 
Macfarlane, 132, 230, 255 
McFarlane, Jas. , 254 
MacFarlane, Mrs., 28, 29 
McGill, 54, 213, 232, 237 


Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

IND EX continued. 

Macgregor, G., 209 

McGuinness, 192 

Mackay, Dr., 229 

Mackay, G. E., 171 ; letter, 186-188 

McKeever, P., 114 

McKellar, W., 227-230 

Mackenzie, A. , 227 

Mackenzie, F., 204, 206, 208 

Mackenzie, r., 214 

McKillop, 136, 155, 182 

Mackinnon, C., 8, 54, 55, 185, 212, 


Mackinnon, D., 8 
Mackinnon, 185 

Mackinnon, L., 8, 54, 183, 212, 232 
Mackintosh, 176, 181 
McKnight, 8 
McLachlan, 9 
McLachlan, Capt., 54, 212 
McLennan's Straits, 197 
McLeod, J. N., letter, 1-3, 136 
McLeod, 177, 251 
McMillan, 19, 132, 136, 156, 179, 


McMillan, A., letter, 254-259 
McMillan, J. G., 155 
McNeil, 8, 211, 215 
McNoel, aborigine, 74 
Maconochie, r., 195 
McPherson, 9, 147, 157, 179, 189, 

190, 191, 263 
Macredie, G., 232 
Macredie, R., 191, 216 
Macredie, T., 232 
Mager, 12 

Maggie, aborigine, 30 
Maiden hills, 42, 146, 167 
Mailor, 137 
Malcolm, 180, 207, 209, 279, 280, 

281, 282, 283-287, 293 
Malcolm, aborigine, 92 
Maloppio, 135 
Malpas, 261 
Maneroo district, 254 
Mangalore, st., 228 
Manifold, 3, 40, 137, 155 
Manifold, Thos., letter, 135-137 
Manifold's creek, 17 
Mann, 177 

Manning, Jas., 137, 174 
Manton, 36, 209 
Manton, C., 227 
Manton, J., 227 
Marathon, m., 17, 18, 19 

Marrable natives, 221 

Marrack hills, 252 

Martin, 36 

Martin, Dr. R., 162, 174, 214, 242 

Mary, m., 17 

Mary Anne, steamer, 142 

Massie, 36, 159 

Mather, 175, 176, 181, 232 

Matherson, 140 

Matthews, 139 

Maxwell, 209 

Melbourne, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 48, 49, 

127, 165, 172, 250, 277, 287 
Melgorarainur, 147 
Melton, 19 
Merang, st., 136 
Mercer, 15 

Mercer, Major, 16, 155 
Mercer, Geo. D., 16, 17 ; journal, 

17-19 ; letter, 154-157 
Mercer, m., 16 

Merino downs, st., 162, 163, 263 
Mially- water blacks, 145 
Middle district, 41 
Mill first erected, 184 
Mills, 189, 190 
Mimamiluke, st., 180 
Mindai, The, 215 
Mindye, The, 85, 89, 90 
Minton, Capt., 36 
Misery, m., 41 
Missions, 139 
Mitchell, T., 171 
Mitchell, Sir Thos., 30, 34, 46, 147 

150, 151, 162, 163, 168, 182, 205, 

211, 237, 244, 262 
Mitchell, W. H. F., 182 
Mitchell, r., 257 
Mollison, 146, 185 
Mollison, A. F., 21, 41, 53, 182, 183, 


Mollison, W. T., 6, 182-185 
Monbolloc, st., 105 
Montgomerie, 42, 232 
Moonee Moonee, 73 
Moonee ponds, 49 
Moor, Hy., 160 
Moorabee, st., 6 
Moorabool, r., 1, 2, 5, 14, 15, 37, 39, 

42, 135 

Moore, J., 173 
Moore, 180, 202 
Moriac, m., 14, 15 
Morris, 251 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


INDEX continued. 

Morris, D., 140 

Morton, 8 

Morton plains, St., 19, 20 

Moruya, r., first navigated, 50 

Mount Aitken, St., 49, 206, 207 

Mount Hope creek, 6 

Mount Macedon, st. , 20 

Mount Macedon tribe, 92, 96 

Mount Sturgeon, st., 174 

Mountain creek, 185 

Muckbilly, st., 191 

Muckleford, 54 

Mudie, Robt., 11, 12, 13, 279, 280, 

281, 282, 283, 284-287 
Mumumberick, St., 182 
Munarp, st., 192 
Mundy, F. M., 36 
Mundy, 183 
Munmungina, 74 
Munnie Brumbrum, 90 
Munnio, 88 
Munro, 21 
Muntham, st., 263 
Murders by aborigines, 8, 13, 29, 31, 
43, 123, 138, 144, 145, 149, 156, 
170, 171, 187, 208, 230, 231, 235, 

Murders by aborigines, Attempted, 

Murders of aborigines, 30, 31, 145, 

Murdoch, 208 

Murradock, king, 16 

Murradock hill, 13 

Murray, 23, 25, 140, 164, 251 

Murray, Hugh, letter, 3-5 

Murray, Old, aborigine, 103 

Murray, r., 6, 8, 41, 46, 142, 150, 244 

Murray, Terence, 172 

Murrina K coding, 92 

Murrumbean, 73 

Murrumbidgee, r., 46 

Murrum Mur-rum-bean, 73 

Murrum Turrukerook, 98 

Myngderrar, 92 

Myrhee, st., 187 

Nar/geela, st., 23, 25, 28 

Nangollibill, 73 

Napier, Thos., 104 

Narre Narre Warren, 104 

Native creek, 38 

Native police, 70-78, 266-269 

Natives. See Aborigines 

Navarre, St., 189 

Naylor, Rev., 4, 253 

Neel Kunun, 90 

Nepean bay, 303 

Neptune Melgorarainur, 147 

Neritnbineek, 74 

New South Wales boundary, 50 

Nichol, 190, 191 

Nicholson, r., 196, 256 

Ning-goolobin, 73 

" No Good Damper Inn," 37 

Noorat, m., 136 

Norris, Thos., 27, 162, 164, 175, 176 

Norton, 181 

Norton, r., 214 

Norval, ship, 11, 250, 279 

Numbla-munjee, 255 

Nunnur-woon, 88 

Nunuptune, 74 

O'Connor, Terence, 36, 101, 160 

Old Lamb Inn, 48 

Old Settlement, st., 36 

Oliphant, 212, 235 

Omeo, 255 

Orr, 53, 54, 199, 205 

Orton, Rev. Jos , 250, 253 

Otway, Cape, 41 

Outrages by aborigines, 32 

Outrages on aborigines, 32 

Ovens district, 151, 186, 187, 230 

Overland post from Sydney to Mel- 
bourne, 50, 51 

Owen, Sir J., 164, 176 

Oxley plains, 151, 186, 187 

Pallian, 86, 87, 88 

Parker, E. S., assistant protector, 8, 
62, 85, 183 

Patrick, Dr., 208 

Patterson, 237 

Patterson, J. H., letter, 5-7, 175, 

Patterson, W., 191, 192 

Pearson, 132, 133 

Pee-rup, 74 

Pender, 255 

Pennyroyal creek, 19 

Pentland hills, 5, 23, 63 

Peripe, 74 

Perpine, 74 

Perry. See Bathe and Perry 

Peters, Chas., 20 

Pettett, W. H., 54, 179, 251 

Phillip Island. 280, 304 

Pick and Shovel Inn, 6 

Pigeon, aborigine, 173 


Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

INDEX continued. 

Pigeon ponds, 27, 176 

Pilleau, A., 23, 263 

Pine grove, st. , 6 

Pine plains, st., 107 

Pirron Yalloak, 1,40, 136 

Playne, 205 

Plenty, r., 54,249,297 

Plummer, 137 

Point Henry, 135, 155, 251 

Point Nepean, 159 

Poleorong, 96 

Police, 188, 229 

Police. See also Native police 

Polligary, 74 

Pollock's ford, 14 

Pollock, 3, 140 

Pollock, Capt., 136,156 

Porcupine, m., 7 

Port Albert, 201, 259 

Port Fairy, 26 1. 264, 304 

Portage creeks, 47 

Portland, 261, 303,304 

Portland bay district, 7, 22, 25, 33, 


Portland bay, 162, 261 
Port Lincoln, 303 
Port Lincoln tribe, 305 
Port Phillip, 41, 48, 275-279, 279-301 
Port Phillip Association, 154 
Port Phillip bay, 39 
Port Phillip boundary, 50 
Post from Sydney to Melbourne 

overland, 50, 51 
Powlett, 5 

Powlett, F. A., 64, 183 
Prentice, 156 
Prices, 25, 38, 51, 127, 128, 148, 170, 

182, 184, 187, 223 
Protector of aborigines, 266 
Punjil, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91 
Pullen, Capt , 305 
Purbrick, 23, 263 
Purrumbete, 136 
Pyalong, 182 

Pyke, T. H., letter, 19, 20 
Pynsent, 9, 157, 179 
Pyrenees, 7, 8, 9, 10 
Queanbeyan, 172 
Railway, first in colony, 15 
Raleigh, Jos., 19 
Ralston, J., 158 
Randalls, 142 
Raven, J., 251 
Raymond, W. 0., letters, 129-134 

Read, G. F., 2, 40, 136,251 

Red Bluff, 36 

Redfern, Mrs., 231 

Reeve, 203 

Reeve, J., 130, 132, 173 

Reeve, L, 198 

Reid, 151, 187 

Reoch, 36 

Repose, I, 237 

Richardson, 136, 213 

Richardson, r.,9, 190, 224 

Ricketts, T., 1, 3, 40, 139, 16 1, 176 

Riddell, 53 

Riley, 236 

Riley, Jas., 174, 175, 177, 181 

Riley, r., 196 

Ritchie, J., 263 

Roadknight, Wm., 135, 139, 251 

Robertson, 54 

Robertson, J. G., letter, 22-35, 164, 

Robertson, W., 12, 279, 280-287, 

289, 293, 294 
Robinson, 191 
Robinson, G., protector, 62, 124, 

188, 191 
Rodger, 213 
Rodger, G., 136 
Rose, A., 214 

Rose, P. D., 9, 146-150, 157, 176 
Rosebrook, st., 150 
Roseneath, st., 158 
Ross, J., 54, 213 
Rostron, L., 216 
Rourke, 104 
Rowan, 186 
Rowan, C., 227 
Rowan, J., 144, 227 
Royal Hotel (Fawkner's), 12 
Rucker, 251 
Ruffy, 36, 101, 160 
Rule, 6 

Russell, And., 107 
Russell, Geo., 1, 2, 12, 15, 38, 39, 

155, 251 
Russell, 156 . 
Rutherford, G., 186, 190, 191 
Ryan, C., 227 
Ryrie, 137, 160 
Ryrie, Wm., 159 
St. James's Church, 250 
Sally Ann, vessel, 262 
Salthouse, wreck of, 173 
Saltwater inlets, 36 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


INDEX continued. 

Saltwater lake, 17 

Saltwater, r., 290, 295 

Sams, W. J., 207 

Sandford, st., 263 

Sandy point, 280 

Savage, 23, 263 

Scab, 7, 34, 166, 223, 224 

Scotchie, 234 

Scott, 136, 191 

Scott, Mrs., 37, 104 

Scott, T., 164 

Scott, W., 40 

Sealing, 302, 303 

Sellars, 8 

Serjeantson, 180 

Serpentine creek, S 

Seven creeks, st., 228 

Seven hills, 63 

Shadwell, m., 16, 136 

Sharpe, P., 156 

Sharpe, Wm., 155 

Shaw, 192 

Sheep, 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 12, 20, 22, 25, 

26, 27, 38, 49, 51, 161 
Sheep stealing by aborigines, 4, 9, 

29, 30, 31, 165, 190, 192 
Shelley, 169 

Sherard, Chas. W. , letter, 36, 37 
Sherratt, Chas., 8, 9, 176, 215 
Shipping, 38, 162, 201 
Shipping point, 199 
Shore, 10, 216 
Simpson, J., 161, 252 
Simson, 6, 54, 156, 185, 211, 215 I 
Simson, D. C., 176 
Simson, Jas. , 155 
Simson, H. N., letter, 7-10 
Sinclair, 179, 213, 303 
Skene, 54 
Small-pox, 209 
Smeaton, 61 
Smeaton hill, 54 
Smith, 136, 155, 207 
Smith, Jas., 253 
Smyth, surveyor, 117, 133 
Smythe, 157, 183 
Snodgrass, Peter, 64, 171, 204, 235; 

letter, 208, 209 
Solomon, M., 104 
Sparks, O. B., 200 
Spatula used by natives, 150 
Speed, 171 

Splatt, W. F., 9, 157-158, 179, 189 
Squatters, 119 

Stapylton, 46 

Station peak, 15, 165 

Station statistics, 25, 26, 27 

Statistics, 134 

Stawell, 8, 164, 176 

Stead, 2, 13, 14, 42, 135, 155, 251 

Steamer first to visit Port Phillip. 16 

Steele, 232 

Steiglitx, 179, 192, 251 

Steiglitz, John, 19, 135 

Steiglitz, R., 2, 42 

Stevens, 173, 178, 214, 235 

Stewart, G., 186, 209 

Stewart, aborigine, 294, 296 

Stirling, 181 

Stony hill, 19 

Stony rises, 139 

Strachan, 12, 48, 251 

Strathlodden, st., 55 

Strong, 137 

Strzelecki, Count P. E. von. 130, 
131, 173, 230, 259 

Stuckley, P., 230 

Start, E. P. S., letter, 238-250 

Subterranean rivers, 247 

Sugar loaf, 53 

Sugar loaf creek, 187 

Sunday creek, 209 

Sutherland, 207 

Sutherland, J. and R., 155, 251 

Sutherland, Jos , 135 

Sutherland, R., 147 

Sutherland's creek, 136 

Swanston, Capt. C., 15, 27, 164, 176, 
182, 251, 279, 2b9, 294, 296 

Sydney, 3 

Symers, Capt., 294 

Tahara, st., 263 

Talbot, m., 177 

Tambo, r., 197, 255 

Tanderum, 97 

Tarraville, 199, 203 

Tarrawingee, st., 186, 187 

Tarrar, 87, 88 

Taylor (of Taylor and McPherson), 
9, 147, 157, 179 

Taylor, F., 136, 155 

Taylor, J., 130, 132 

Taylor, W., letter, 189-192 

Templeton, John (of Gippsland), 
171, 180 

Templeton, John (of Kyneton), let- 
ter, 228, 229 

Thier, J., 191 


Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 

INDEX continued. 

Thistle island, 303 

Thorn, 200, 280, 281, 282, 283, 305 

Thorn, John, 36 

Thomas, Wm., guardian of abori- 
gines, 37 ; account of aborigines, 
by, 65-100, 104 

Thomson, 159, 173, 178, 214, 235 

Thomson, Dr. A., 12, 15, 39, 40, 48, 
135, 138, 186, 192, 213; letter, 
250252 253 

Thomson, 'A. T.. 147 ; letter, 229- 

Thomson, John, 156 

Thomson, r., 197 

Thorpe, A., 8, 186 

Tib-bo-bo-but, 99 

Tib-but, 99 

Tilley, C. P., 156 

Tirhatuan, 101 

Tomboko, 75 

Tonmiel, 75 

Tourbouric, st., 6 

Tourt, 87, 88 

Tragowel, 145 

Transport, 38 

Trebeck. See Beale and Trebeck 

Tulloch, Thos.,23 

Tulloh, 169 

Tulloh, Thos., 23 

Tumut, 169 

Turnbull, John, 36, 199, 201 

Tyers, C. J., 174 ; letter, 193-204 

Umphelby, 54 

Underground rivers. See Subter- 
ranean rivers 

Urquhart, Geo., 42, 114, 165, 176, 

Van Diemen's Land, 1, 3, 5 

Van Diemen's Land Association, 11, 
12, 15 

Varcoe, R.,105 

Vectis, st., 179 

Vicary, Geo., 139 

Vicary, Thos., 139 

Victoria, Gippsland, 199, 203 

Victoria, L, 198, 256 

Victoria, range, 215 

Victoria, r. , 244 

Villamanata, 293 

Villiers. See De Villiers 

Wages, 22 

Walker, 137 

Wallace, 177 

Wallace, John, 2 

Wando, r. , 23 

Wando Vale, st., 30, 164 

Wannon, r., 2, 5, 23, 33, 34, 35 

Wannon falls, 23 

Wappang, 180 

Waralim, 96 

Wardy Yalloak, at., 19 

Wardy Yalloak tribe, 4 

Wardy Yalloak, 16, 17, 40 

Ware, 251 

Ware, J. G., 156 

Ware, Jos., 137 

Warmum, 91 

Warrador, 96 

Warrambine, st., 156 

Warrigal, Jemmy, aborigine, 144 

Warrigals, 254 

Warrion hills, 17 

Warrock, fit., 25, 28 

Warrouley, st. , 187 

Waterfield, Rev., 250, 253 

Watson, 3, 136, 168, 169, 171, 172, 

173, 174, 180, 181, 195, 209, 228, 


Waugh, D., 168, 180, 230 
Waworong, 75 

Weapons of aborigines, 69, 70 
Weatherly, Jack, aborigine, 102 
Webster, Capt., 136, 156 
Wedge, Chas., 6, 23; letter, 161- 

163, 216 

Wedge, Henry, 6, 23, 216 
Wedge, Richard, 6, 23, 216 
Wedge, J. H., 161, 207 
Wellington, L, 197 
Wellington, m., 258 
Werribee, r., 13, 19, 49 
Wesleyan mission, 139 
Western district, 3, 236, 237, 238, 

Western Port, 12, 13, 159, 229, 280, 


Western Port district, 36 
Western Port tribe, 92, 96, 208 
Whaling, 303 

White, Col., 54, 186, 187, 208 
White, Ed., 247 
Whittaker, 164, 176 
Whitten, 234 
Whyte, Bros., 5, 6, 23, 30, 162, 164, 


Wideculk, 75 
Wi-gee-gulk, 75 
Wild cattle, 36 

Letters from Victorian Pioneers. 


INDEX continued. 

William, King, aborigine. See 

King William 
William, m., 18, 213, 235 
Williams, 8, 186 
Williamson, Chas., 179, 212 
Williamstown, 5, 12, 138, 161, 223, 


Willis, Judge, 124 
Willis, 27, 164, 176 
Wills, H. S., 213, 214, 231, 237 
Willoughby, 159 
Will- Will- Rook, St., 105 
Wilmore, 25 

Wilson, 9, 136, 157, 179, 190, 191 
Wimmera, 8, 19, 108, 178, 189, 212, 


Wimmera tribe, 109 
Winter, J., 2 
Winter, Trevor, 23, 163 
Winter, S., 263,306 
Winter, Thos , 27, 28, 164, 176 

notes on Port Phillip, 275-279 
Wishart, 304 
Wombat, 91 
Woolley, J. M., 36 
Wonwondah, */., 146, 157, 179, 189 
Wood, 160 

Woodlands, St., 181 

Woolmudgen, 121, 124 

Woolmurgen, 13 

Wormbete, at., 139 

Wrentmore, 23, 25 

Wright, 42, 213, 232 

Wynholm, *<., 63 

Wyselaski, J. D , 174, 232 

Yaldwin or Yaldwyn, 21, 162, 182 

Yalloak, r., 293 

Yalloak, St., 159 

Yamaboke, 76 

Yam-mer-book, 76 

Yanengonah, 148 

Yan Yan Gurt, St., 139 

Yarra tribe, 70, 96 

Yarra, aborigine, 28, 30 

Yarra Yarra, r., 287 

Yarriambiack creek, 191 

Yeap-tune, 76 

Young, Sir H. E. F., 142, 143, 244 

Yuille, 156 

Yuille, W. C., 41, 42, 54 

Yuille, Messrs., 2, 156 

Yuptun, 76 

Zero, m., 9, 189,191 

By Authority : ROBT. S. BRAIN, Oovernnjept Printer, Melbourne 



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